INCI Naming: The Purpose and the process

INCI Naming: The Purpose and the process

Want to make sense of INCI names? We’ve put together a guide detailing the purpose and process, using material first published in October 2019.

INCI, which stands for International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient, is the systematic name used internationally to identify cosmetic ingredients.

Originally developed for ingredient labelling, INCI names serve many purposes, from allergen identification to meeting regulatory standards, including the key U.S. Fair Packaging and Labelling Act, which makes ingredient listing a legal requirement.

INCI names are developed by the International Nomenclature Committee (INC); a diverse group of scientists with backgrounds in the industry, academia, and government. The INC meets generally during the months of February, April, June, September and November.

INCI names are assigned through an application process, where requests are submitted through an electronic application system. Applications are typically made by suppliers and are subject to review by the INC, who create names by consensus. The whole application process takes 3 – 6 months.

INCI names themselves are based on material composition, with the source often utilised in the name. Current practice refers to REACH criteria, which expresses that an ingredient is considered a single constituent or well-defined substance.

Blended mixtures are named by each component and identified in descending order of concentration. Components are declared on the finished product label in proper placement with regard to entire formulation.

Need more regulations information? Check out our step by step guide on being US Claims-Compliant.

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