INCI decoding. How to read list of ingredients?

INCI abbreviation stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. It’s a standardized system of labelling and naming ingredients used in beauty products that applies in numerous countries (including members of to the European Union, the USA, Japan and China). INCI system describes around 2 thousand substances used in widely-recognized body and hair care products. Names of the chemical substances are presented in English language, and the vegetable and animal origin substances are shown in Latin, which eases their recognition and understanding worldwide. All components of a cosmetic have to be included either on the packaging or a leaflet attached. Their order isn’t put in random – at the very top of the list there are the substances the concentration of which is the highest. How to read list of ingredients? Get to know INCI system better.

How to read list of ingredients?

If you want a particular product to deal with a certain problem, check if the ingredient you are looking for is included in the composition (1) and if it takes a high position on the list (2). Choose the cosmetics categorized as non-comedogenic because they don’t clog skin pores. Thanks to this, skin can breathe freely.

Moreover, owning to analysing the list of ingredients, you will be able to identify potential allergens that might affect you badly. Every time a product triggers an allergic reaction, write down its composition to make it easier for you to eliminate the particular ingredient from the beauty products you will buy in the future.

The basic composition of cosmetics

The most frequently, at the top of each INCI list there is water – it used to mix and dissolve the remaining substances in. Also, balm (oily substance) is placed rather high since such substance is determines density of a cosmetic. Furthermore, most products feature preservatives. Their number depends on the level of exposing packaging to the external aggressors. For example, an open lid packaging increases concentration of preservatives used in a product.

Most list of ingredients also feature volatile substances and excipients. They can fulfil various tasks, for example, help a cosmetic preserve its form unchanged when exposed to oxygen. Volatile substance evaporates and vanishes after being applied to skin. Silicones, in turn, ease cosmetic application, therefore they are common in make-up products and hair care cosmetics.

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