INCI – International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients

Where to look for INCI?

According to EU Regulation 1223/2009, the list of ingredients should be placed on the outer packaging. In cases where this is not possible (e.g. due to the very small size of the packaging) a list of ingredients is placed on a leaflet, label, tape, etc. included with the product.

In the case of products that are offered for sale in a single common packaging (e.g. bath bombs) the INCI name should be placed at the point of sale, in the vicinity of the packaging.

The rules of reading the composition of the INCI

1. The list of ingredients used in the manufacturing of the cosmetic should be printed right after the word "ingredients", ordering from largest to smallest concentration. Ingredients used in a concentration of less than 1% may be listed in the composition in any order, but always after the ingredients present in a concentration above 1%.

2. The word "perfume" or "aroma" refers to a composition of fragrance or flavor. According to the Regulation 1223/2009, the manufacturer shall include in the INCI components of fragrance or of flavor classified as potentially allergenic, when present in a concentration above 0.01% in rinsable products and greater than 0.001% in products that are left on the skin. The list of potential allergens is attached as Annex III to the Regulation 1223/2009. These allergens include substances such as citronellol, limonene, linalool or geraniol.

3. The abbreviation CI ("color index") followed by several numbers is a symbol of dye, designed to color the cosmetic. The list of coloring matters authorized for use in cosmetics is attached as Annex IV of Regulation 1223/2009. The dyes are placed in the list of INCI after the other cosmetic ingredients in any order. For cosmetics occurring in several color variants (e.g. in cosmetics used for makeup) the phrase "may contain" or the symbol "+/-" can possibly appear in the list, followed by the dyes present in all versions of the cosmetic.

4. The word "nano" in brackets after the name of a particular component indicates a nanomaterial. According to the Regulation 1223/2009: 'Nanomaterial' means an insoluble or biopersistent and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm. It should be noted that the manufacturer has no obligation to inform the user of nanomaterials present in cosmetics, if these are colorants, radiation protections or preservatives.

5. The INCI name of a given ingredient usually comes from its final composition, with the exception of organic and silicone polymers, extracts, fermentation products, and minerals, where the name comes usually from raw material and may include a description indicating the manufacturing process.

6. The name of plant extracts consists of three parts: the genus, species (according to the binomial nomenclature) and the part of the plant from which the extract was drawn. Examples of extract names are presented in the table below. In the event that different plants have been mixed together prior to extraction, their INCI names will be separated by a slash, e.g.: Glycyrrhiza Glabra root / Urtica dioica leaf extract.

Genus Species Part of the plant
Glycyrrhiza Glabra root
Urtica dioica leaf
Silybum Marianum seed
Citrus Aurantium peel
Calendula officinalis whole
Salix Alba bark
Chamomilla Recutita  flower

logo eu1