INCI: What Is It? 3 Things to Know!

What is the INCI?

An acronym for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, it’s the mandatory international name used to indicate the ingredients of beauty products.
But you can read it? It will have happened to anyone to buy a beauty products without having an idea of the ingredients that make them up. This isn’t a fault, but a simple truth.
The INCI is the tool to make the right choices and is an advantage that we often ignore.
Find out more about Beauty here.



1. Nomenclature

Most of the ingredients are always indicated by their Latin name. When this happens it means that have been used in purity, without chemical changes. On the contrary, the ingredients that undergo this modification are indicated with the name in English. Or a numerical code.
The dyes are always indicated with the abbreviation C.I. followed by a five numbers.

2. The order of the ingredients is always decreasing

The ingredients are selected based on the percentage of them present in the total weight of the product, which is why the first ingredient on the list is the one that constitutes the largest share of the product.
Substances less than 1% have no obligation to be mentioned in the INCI. Such as perfumes that don’t necessarily have to be singularly listed.

3. Classification of ingredients

INCI are normally made up of three classes of ingredients such as:
basic ingredients, substances that are also present in the skin. That it needs to function properly and perform its protective function. Often these are fats and oils;
active ingredients, substances that have functional effects on the body. For example, among them we find vitamins, enzymes and acids;
excipients, substances that give the product additional characteristics such as, for example, a good perfume. Among these we find the aromas, fragrances, emulsifiers, preservatives, etc…
To understand if a product is of quality, just add the % of these components. If the result exceeds that of the basic and active ingredients, this indicates that the product isn’t of good quality.

You can check the quality of a product or ingredients through the traffic light logic.
💚💚Great. Ecocompatible substances.
💚Discrete. Substances of vegetable derivation.
💛Good. There may be limitations or doubts.
❤️Sufficient. Substances with great environmental impact.
❤️❤️Not Sufficient. To avoid.
⚫️Forbidden Substance

33 thoughts on “INCI: What Is It? 3 Things to Know!

  1. That’s so great that they have a way of telling how good the beauty products are and what kinds of materials they use in them. I had no clue they had such a system but it’s great I can tell.

  2. I’ve never heard of the INCI. I like that they share the basic ingredients as well as the active ingredients. It’s good to know this information so that you know what you’re putting on your skin.

  3. I had NO idea that the order of ingredients was based on decreasing prominence in the product; that’s brilliant and super helpful!

  4. I am not 100% familiar to this. It’s interesting to know the importance of knowing exactly what you’re buying. Super informative.

  5. Very happy I get to run through your post. Make me even more interested being keen on products before buying them. You learn something new everyday huh.

  6. I have no idea about this. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be able to read the labels (sort of) and understand what they mean with the help of google. This will make choosing vegan/cruelty-free products a lot easier.

  7. I have never heard of INCI, but I am aware of labeling rules and how labeling works. I was taught to check ingredients years ago because of the shift to organic ingredients.

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