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What are CI numbers and INCI?

When labelling cosmetics there is a standard system for ingredient names across the UK and EU. This is known as INCI which stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients.


You will see when you look at the labelling of cosmetic products that some of the names seem to be in Latin, such as the botancial name for lavender - lavendula angustifolia - in fact, these are INCI names and it is these that you need to use on your product labels. There is nothing to stop you using the common name in brackets alongside, so that your customers know exactly what you are using. For example "Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) flower oil" is perfectly acceptable.


Is it difficult?

The short answer is no - not at all. Your suppliers should provide the INCI names of your ingredients. As you might expect we include information about using INCI names in our free guidance documents


Many people like to include colours in their cosmetic products and we are of course, very happy for them to do this. When you include a colour in your formulation, we need to see what is known as the CI (Colour Index) number. This tells us exactly which colour you are using and avoids delays in producing your reports. Your supplier should provide this information & confirm that the dyes used conform to EU purity criteria. As with other ingredients, you should obtain an MSDS for each colour that you use.


For example we see formulations where a customer says "1g red colour".  As you can imagine, there are so many different variations of "red" colour available it is almost impossible for us to know exactly what is being used.  All we need you to do is include the CI reference in your formulation please. So instead of writing "1g red colour" we would like to see "1g red Colour (CI 12085)"

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