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 - 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 will always provide the INCI names of your ingredients - if for some reason they don't, it is a very simple case of looking up on the internet - there are many many INCI resources.


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.


For example - we see formulations where a customer says "1g red colour" - as you can imagine, there are so many different variations available it is almost impossible for us to know exactly what is being used and this means that we have to get back to the client for further details which increases our workload and delays the production of the final report.


When you buy a colour from a supplier, they will always provide the CI reference. All we need you to do is include this reference in your formulation please. So instead of "1g red colour" we would like to see "1g red Colour (CI 12085)"