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
|Purified water, deionized water, demineralized water, water, etc.
|Sodium 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)
|Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran
|Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
|Passion Fruit Juice
|Passiflora Edulis Fruit Juice
|Red rose water
|Rosa Damascena Flower Water
|Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract
|Yucca herbal extract
|Yucca Schidigera Stem Extract
|Aloe vera leaf gel
|Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
|Tea tree oil
|Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
|Peppermint leaf oil
|Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil
|Spearmint leaf oil
|Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil
|Wintergreen leaf oil
|Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Oil
|Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
|Cinnamon leaf oil
|Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil
|Lemon peel oil
|Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil
|Valencia orange peel oil
|Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
|Pink grapefruit peel oil
|Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil
|Roman chamomile oil
|Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil
|Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil
|Extra virgin olive oil
|Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
|Saponified oil of coconut
|Saponified oil of palm
|Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil
|Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
|Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
Additional INCI Names
- Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Vera Gel
- Coconut Oil: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Coconut Oil
- Glycerin: Glycerin, Glycerol
- Vitamin E: Tocopherol, Vitamin E
- Shea Butter: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Shea Butter
- Jojoba Oil: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil
- Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid, vitamin C
- Argan Oil: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Argan Oil
- Rosehip Oil: Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosehip Oil
- 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.