International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients

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The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI, are the unique identifiers for cosmetic ingredients such as waxes, oils, pigments, and other chemicals that are assigned in accordance with rules established by the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), previously the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA).[1] INCI names often differ greatly from systematic chemical nomenclature or from more common trivial names and is a mixture of conventional scientific names, Latin and English words. INCI nomenclature conventions "are continually reviewed and modified when necessary to reflect changes in the industry, technology, and new ingredient developments".[2]

INCI and CAS[edit]

The relationship between a CAS Registry Number and an INCI name is not always one-to-one. In some cases, more than one INCI name may have the same CAS number, or more than one CAS number may apply to an INCI name. For example, the CAS number 1245638-61-2 has the CA Index Name of 2-Propenoic acid, reaction products with pentaerythritol. This CAS number can accurately be associated with two INCI names: Pentaerythrityl Tetraacrylate and Pentaerythrityl Triacrylate. Alternatively, the INCI name, Glucaric Acid can be associated with two CAS numbers: 87-73-0 which has the CA Index Name of D-Glucaric acid, and 25525-21-7, which has the CA Index Name of DL-Glucaric acid. Both of these examples are accurate associations between CAS and INCI.[3]

Table of common names[edit]

Here is a table of several common names and their corresponding INCI names.[4]

Common name INCI name
Purified water, deionized water, demineralized water, water, etc. Aqua[5]
Sodium Coco Sulfate 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) Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Decyl glucoside Decyl Glucoside*
Citric acid Citric acid*
Paraben Methylparaben
Cetyl alcohol Cetyl Alcohol
Vitamin E Tocopherol
Beeswax Beeswax*
Vegetable Glycerin Glycerin
Oat bran Avena sativa (Oat) Bran
Shea butter Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter)
Passion Fruit Juice Passiflora edulis Fruit Juice
Red rose water Rosa damascena Flower Water
Raspberry extract 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
Lavender 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
Jasmine oil Jasminum officinale (Jasmine) Oil
Extra virgin olive oil Olea europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
Saponified oil of coconut Sodium Cocoate
Saponified oil of palm Sodium Palmate
Hemp oil Cannabis sativa Seed Oil
Jojoba oil Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Sunflower oil Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

* Some common names and INCI names are the same name.

INCI labeling[edit]

In the U.S., under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, certain accurate information is a requirement to appear on labels of cosmetic products.[6] In Canada, the regulatory guideline is the Cosmetic Regulations.[7] Ingredient names must comply by law with EU requirements by using INCI names.[8]

The cosmetic regulation laws are enforceable for important consumer safety. For example, the ingredients are listed on the ingredient declaration for the purchaser to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to an ingredient the user has had an allergy to before. INCI names are mandated on the ingredient statement of every consumer personal care product. The INCI system allows the consumer to identify the ingredient content. In the U.S., true soaps (as defined by the FDA) are specifically exempted from INCI labeling requirements as cosmetics per FDA regulation.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Personal Care Products Council - News release November 29, 2007
  2. ^ Personal Care Products Council - INCI Nomenclature Conventions
  3. ^ Personal Care Products Council - Background information on INCI and CAS
  4. ^ Personal Care Products Council - International Buyers' Guide
  5. ^ Aqua
  6. ^ U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Labeling Regulations: CFR Title 21, Part 701
  7. ^ "Health Canada - Guidelines for Cosmetics Manufacturers, Importers and Distributors". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
  8. ^ Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association - Understanding your label
  9. ^ U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (Or Is It Soap?)

External links[edit]