International nomenclature for cosmetic ingredients

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INCI-compliant information on the ingredients of a cosmetic on the bottom of the back of the pack

International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (abbreviation INCI of English International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients ) denotes an international guideline for the correct indication of the ingredients ( Ingredients ) of cosmetics . This nomenclature is intended to give allergy sufferers in particular the opportunity to check a product for questionable ingredients before buying it .

The proportions of the composition ( content ) are not named.

Legal requirement

The declaration of cosmetic ingredients according to the INCI system has been required by law in the European Union since 1997 and is now an integral part of Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (EU Cosmetics Regulation ). There are currently 26 potentially allergenic fragrances listed for perfumes .

In the US, a nomenclature based on the specifications of the Personal Care Products Council (formerly Chemistry, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association; CTFA) is used. It differs only slightly from the EU specification (e.g. EU = AQUA / USA = Water). The trend is, however, towards globally uniform INCI names. New INCI names are registered on the Personal Care Products Council website for a fee.

Specifications for listing the cosmetic ingredients

The ingredients of cosmetics are listed in accordance with Article 19g EU Cosmetics Ordinance:

Cosmetics include:

The list is preceded by "Ingredients".

  • The ingredients are listed with their INCI names in descending order of their weight (proportion) at the time the cosmetic product was manufactured. Components in a concentration of less than 1% may be listed in disorder after those in a concentration of more than 1%.
  • Fragrances or aromatic substances and their raw materials can be summarized as perfume, fragrance or aroma, with the exception of the fragrances listed in Annex III No. 67-92. These must be indicated with their substance names if they exceed one of the following specified concentrations in the product.
    • in products that are washed off after use (shower gel, shampoo, soap), exceeds 0.01%
    • in products that remain on the skin or hair (cream, perfume, hair setting agent) exceeds 0.001%.
  • Dyes - "other than those intended for dyeing hair" - can be listed in disordered order according to the other components with the color index number (CI number). For cosmetics in different color variants, the dyes used in the variants are listed in square brackets. A “+/−” label indicates that the product may not contain all of the colorants listed, for example: [+/− CI12700, CI14270, CI20470] .
  • Components in the form of nanomaterials must be identified after the INCI name with the word nano in brackets.
  • If there is no INCI name, the chemical name, the name of the European Pharmacopoeia, the non-protected name (INN) recommended by the World Health Organization or another name for the identity of the component must be given.

Access to information about ingredients

The database offers a complete overview of all ingredients (chemistry, functions, occurrence in cosmetics and background information). With the Cosmile app , information can also be called up via a smartphone scan of the barcode ( European Article Number = EAN code) on the respective product packaging .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Labeling: BVL - Labeling , accessed on January 9, 2019.
  2. L_2009342DE.01005901.xml: REGULATION (EC) No. 1223/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL , accessed on January 9, 2019.
  3. Labeling of fragrances: BVL - Labeling of fragrances , accessed on January 9, 2019.
  4. EUR-Lex - 32009R1223 - EN - EUR-Lex. Accessed July 30, 2020 (English).
  5. Wolfgang Legrum: Fragrances, between stench and fragrance occurrence, properties and use of fragrances and their mixtures . Springer-Verlag, 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-07310-7 , pp. 227 ( limited preview in Google Book search).