INCI: the most visible secret of cosmetics

If you have ever checked the label of a cosmetic you will have noticed that the ingredients appear in English and Latin. This is due to the INCI nomenclature system, which stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. As we can deduce from its meaning in English, it is an international nomenclature system that allows us to identify each ingredient used in a cosmetic product without any room for error.

This system is not something new, but has already existed for almost 100 years. It arose in the United States when pressure from consumers led the FDA to pass the first law on labeling and packaging of cosmetic products. Similarly, this also occurred in Europe with the publication of Directive 76/768 / EEC on cosmetic products in 1976 and later with the publication of regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products. Today there is a database at European level called CosIng where we can find all the ingredients used in cosmetics in the EU with their INCI name, a short description and some of their functions.

How to understand the ingredient list?

We must know that, in the list of ingredients, it is mandatory that they be indicated following the INCI nomenclature system, which allows us to be sure which ingredient it is, regardless of the language or origin of the product. If we look closely, we will see that the name of the ingredients appears in English, and when names appear in Latin they are the scientific names of the botanical species used, since many plants have more than one common name and this could lead to confusion.

Another aspect to take into account is that the ingredients must appear ordered from highest to lowest according to their percentage in the formula. That is, the former are those found in a higher proportion and the latter are found in a smaller quantity.

Some products carry an additional list of ingredients on their label, in Spanish or another language. However, we must bear in mind that in this list there is no obligation for all the ingredients to appear, therefore, if you want to know the real composition of the product you must always be guided by the INCI list.

Why is INCI important?

At the consumer level, the INCI allows us to verify if what is indicated on the product labels is true, since many times, some products indicate 0% parabens or other compounds as if there were an absence of toxic compounds, but when verifying the list of ingredients we can see that they use other ingredients that are just as toxic or polluting. Other times, plants or other natural products are advertised and when we review the INCI list we can see that it is at the end of the list, that is, in a very small amount.

At Planthia we want to provide you with the most transparent information possible about the ingredients we use in our cosmetics. So that you can be sure that our ingredients are not toxic or polluting, we always publish in the file of each product its INCI, its properties and its usefulness in cosmetics. You can visit it by clicking here.

If you want to know the toxic and polluting ingredients that you should avoid in your cosmetic products, you can visit the following entries in our blog (links).


If you want to have more information about the meaning of INCI, we recommend the following links: 

- Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients 

- INCI nomenclature convention

- Ingredients Database in Cosmetics - European Commission

- Cosmetic labeling guide 

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