Know the correct INCI name for the essential oil in your aromatherapy product, istockphoto, used with permission
Know the correct INCI name for the essential oil in your aromatherapy product, istockphoto, used with permission

If you make your own aromatherapy products, you will at some point come across the term INCI. If you not sure what the term INCI means, here is a short introduction as to why you should become familiar with it as an aromatherapy product maker.

International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI)

INCI is the abbreviation used for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, the recognized standard system used in the United States (and some other countries of the world) for waxes, aromatherapy oils, essential oils, carrier oils and chemicals used in making cosmetic products such as creams, lotions, soap, oils and more.

INCI identifies ingredients by their scientific or Latin name over preference to common English names. This helps to avoid confusion over a specific ingredient, just as the scientific plant classification system does with the names of plants, and to be able to compare “like” with “like.”

In the United States, it is a FDA requirement that all cosmetic products list ingredients using INCI names. You can obtain a full list of INCI names from the Personal Care Products Council, although if you are looking for some of the more regularly used and common INCI names you can usually find various resources on the internet by typing the words INCI list into a search engine website such as Google.

Examples of INCI Names

Are you confused about what makes up an INCI name? Here are a few aromatherapy examples to get you started; the common name is listed first, followed by the INCI name:

  • emulsifying wax – Cetyl alcohol
  • vitamin E – Tocopherol
  • shea butter – Butyrosperum parkii
  • tea tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
  • saponified oil of palm – Sodium palmate.

How you label your cosmetic products is also an area you should become familiar with, depending upon the country (and state) in which you live. For more information, visit the FDA website (for US residents).

 

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