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INCI Dictionary – International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredients

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) is a system of names used to identify the ingredients in cosmetic products. It was developed by the Personal Care Products Council (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association) in the United States, and is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union (EU).

The INCI system is intended to provide a consistent and accurate way to identify ingredients in cosmetics, so that consumers can easily understand what is in a product and make informed purchasing decisions. The names used in the INCI system are based on the scientific names of the cosmetics ingredients, and are standardized across different languages and countries.

Cosmetics and the INCI Dictionary

To be listed in the INCI name system, an ingredient must have a Latin or scientific name that is recognized by the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary (INCI Dictionary). The ingredient must also be listed in at least one of several standard reference texts, such as the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook (ICIDH), the EU Cosmetic Ingredients and Substances (CosIng) database, or the FDA’s list of color and cosmetic ingredients.

Always look for ACA cosmetics certification to help you find beauty and skincare products that meet the highest standards.

Ingredients are listed on cosmetic product labels in descending order of concentration, with the highest concentration ingredient listed first. If an ingredient is used in a product at a concentration of less than 1%, it can be listed in any order after the ingredients that are present at greater than 1%.

The INCI system also includes a system of labeling for fragrances, which are complex mixtures of natural and synthetic ingredients. Fragrances are often proprietary mixtures, and the individual ingredients may not be disclosed on the label. Instead, the label must include the word “fragrance” or “parfum,” along with any other ingredients that are used to solubilize, stabilize, or otherwise adjust the fragrance.

Is the INCI required?

The use of the INCI system is mandatory in the European Union, and the FDA recognizes it as the standard for ingredient labeling for cosmetics in the United States. It is also used in many other countries around the world, including Canada, Japan, and South Korea.

The INCI system is constantly evolving, as new ingredients are discovered and new scientific information becomes available. The Personal Care Products Council and other organizations regularly review the system and make changes as needed.

INCI Names and Ingredients

Some critics argue that the system is not perfect, as some ingredients can have multiple names, and some ingredients may not be included in the system. However, it is considered as one of the best and most standardized way of identifying ingredients in cosmetics.

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) system is a widely recognized and standardized method for identifying the ingredients in cosmetic products. It is intended to make it easy for consumers to understand what is in a product and make informed purchasing decisions. The system is used in many countries around the world, and is constantly evolving as new ingredients are discovered and new scientific information becomes available. For ACA favorite cosmetics, see our list of best cosmetic products.

INCI Dictionary Common Names with INCI Name List

Common name INCI name
Purified water, deionized water, demineralized water, water, etc.Aqua
Sodium Coco SulfateSodium Coco-Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (from coconut oil)Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium laureth sulfate (from coconut oil)Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Cocamidopropyl betaine (from coconut oil)Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Decyl glucosideDecyl Glucoside
Citric acidCitric Acid
Cetyl alcoholCetyl Alcohol
Vitamin ETocopherol
Vegetable GlycerinGlycerin
Oat branAvena Sativa (Oat) Bran
Shea butterButyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
Passion Fruit JuicePassiflora Edulis Fruit Juice
Red rose waterRosa Damascena Flower Water
Raspberry extractRubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract
Yucca herbal extractYucca Schidigera Stem Extract
Aloe vera leaf gelAloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Tea tree oilMelaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
Peppermint leaf oilMentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil
Spearmint leaf oilMentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil
Wintergreen leaf oilGaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Oil
Lavender oilLavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
Cinnamon leaf oilCinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil
Lemon peel oilCitrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil
Valencia orange peel oilCitrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
Pink grapefruit peel oilCitrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil
Roman chamomile oilAnthemis Nobilis Flower Oil
Jasmine oilJasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil
Extra virgin olive oilOlea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
Saponified oil of coconutSodium Cocoate
Saponified oil of palmSodium Palmate
Hemp oilCannabis Sativa Seed Oil
Jojoba oilSimmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Sunflower oilHelianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

Additional INCI Names

  1. Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Vera Gel
  2. Coconut Oil: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Coconut Oil
  3. Glycerin: Glycerin, Glycerol
  4. Vitamin E: Tocopherol, Vitamin E
  5. Shea Butter: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Shea Butter
  6. Jojoba Oil: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil
  7. Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid, vitamin C
  8. Argan Oil: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Argan Oil
  9. Rosehip Oil: Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosehip Oil
  10. Witch Hazel: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Witch Hazel.

How many ingredients are on the INCI list?

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) has thousands of names for cosmetic ingredients. The INCI database is constantly growing and changing, so the exact number of names can vary. However, at this moment, the database contains thousands of names for ingredients used in cosmetics, including raw materials, fragrances, preservatives, and others. Each ingredient has a unique INCI name that is used to identify it on cosmetic labels.

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