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What Are INCI Names?

Demystifying this system of naming ingredients to better understand what’s in your skincare products.

What Are INCI Names?


When you look at the ingredient panel on a skincare product, you are often greeted with a list of long and often confusing-sounding names, such as Plukenetia volubilis or Lavandula angustifolia. These are referred to as INCI names. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of INCI names and explore their significance in the skincare industry.



What Is INCI?

INCI stands for "International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients." It is a uniform system for naming cosmetic ingredients so that they can be recognized worldwide, regardless of language. Each ingredient has a unique identifier, usually a mixture of Latin and conventional scientific names.



How Are INCI Names Displayed?

INCI names are always two unique words, the first references the genus of the ingredient, and the second references the species. For example, Rosa damascena denotes that the genus is Rose, and the species is Damask.

The name is always written in italics, with the first letter of the genus name capitalized and the first letter of the species name lowercase.



Who Created INCI?

INCI was developed by the International Nomenclature Committee (INC), a panel of experts from around the world, including scientists, dermatologists, and other professionals in the cosmetic industry.

The committee is responsible for developing and approving the individual ingredient names, which are published in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook. The handbook is an essential reference tool for cosmetic manufacturers, regulators, and other professionals in the cosmetic industry.



Who Oversees INCI?

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) oversees the INCI program and ensures the nomenclature's accuracy and transparency. The PCPC is committed to ensuring that the Dictionary provides the world community with accurate, transparent, and harmonized nomenclature.



Why Is INCI Important?

The use of INCI names for cosmetic labeling has many advantages. First and foremost, a uniform system of labeling names for cosmetic ingredients allows for easy recognition and understanding of ingredients across different countries and languages. This is especially important for consumers who may be purchasing products from different countries or who may not speak the language in which the product is labeled.

In addition, harmonized INCI names ensure that multiple names are not used for the same ingredient, which could lead to confusion or misidentification.

Furthermore, the use of INCI names enables the cosmetic industry to track the safety and regulatory status of ingredients. This is important for ensuring the safety of consumers.



Why You Should Look Closely At INCI Names

Understanding INCI names is essential for making informed skincare choices. By knowing the names of the ingredients in your skincare products, you can make more informed decisions about what you put on your skin. Knowing the names of the ingredients can help you avoid ingredients that may be harmful or irritating to your skin.

In addition, some common ingredient names include multiple species, which may have different effects on your skin. The INCI name helps you identify the particular species used. For example, Sandalwood Oil is produced from several species, including Santalum album, and Santalum spicataSantalum austrocaledonicum; however, Santalum album is the species that contains the highest levels of Santalol, which is the beneficial compound in it that is responsible for brightening your skin. (Which is why Santalum album is the species of Sandalwood that we use in our FACE OIL!)




In conclusion, INCI names are a vital component of the skincare industry. They enable easy recognition and understanding of cosmetic ingredients worldwide, promote consumer understanding, and aid in the regulation of cosmetic products.

By taking note of INCI names and understanding their significance, we can make more informed decisions about the skincare products we use and promote a safer and more transparent cosmetic industry.




What Is INCI Name, How to Get One for Cosmetic Ingredient and How to Search?

INCI - Personal Care Products Council

INCI Nomenclature Conventions

INCI and CAS - Personal Care Products Council

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