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What is the meaning of INCI name?

If you work with cosmetics, you are more than familiar with the term INCI name. But what is it all about and why is it so important?

International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names (previously known as CTFA names) are uniform, systematic names internationally recognised to identify cosmetic ingredients developed by the International Nomenclature Committee (INC) and published by the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC, former Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA)) in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, available electronically as wINCI.

The INCI nomenclature system was initiated by consumer movement during the 1960s and established in the early 1970s by the CTFA. In 1993, CTFA Adopted Names changed to INCI names. INCI names are recognised worldwide to identify cosmetic ingredients and are used for product labelling in many countries.

The goal of the INCI nomenclature system is to promote the widespread use and international recognition of common, uniform, science-based ingredient names for use in cosmetics. INCI Names are developed and assigned on the basis of established nomenclature conventions published by the Personal Care Products Council in the Introduction to the Dictionary and they are continuously reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the industry, technology, and new ingredient developments

Cosmetic companies can apply for an INCI name through the application form available on the PCPC website. There is a charge per application and it takes approximately 3-6 months.

The Committee convene approximately five times a year for 2-day sessions to review applications for new INCI names, and petitions for INCI name changes. It shall be noted that the assignment of an INCI name does not imply that the ingredient has been approved for use or that the ingredient is safe. Likewise, if an ingredient does not have an INCI name, it does not mean that it may not or should not be used in cosmetics.

Article 19(1)(g) of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 requires cosmetic ingredients to be expressed using the common ingredient name set out in the glossary of common ingredient names for use in the labelling of cosmetic products. This glossary is required to take account of internationally recognised nomenclatures, including the INCI.



Personal Care Products Council. INCI Nomenclature and the INCI Application Process. 2015 

Personal Care Products Council. INCI Information. 2018  

Personal Care Products Council. INCI Nomenclature Conventions. 2022 

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