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INCI names & CI numbers


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


When you look at the labelling of cosmetic products, the names appear to be in Latin, such as the botanical name for lavender which is "Lavandula 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. For example "Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) flower oil" is perfectly acceptable.


Is it difficult?

The short answer is no. 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 and there is a searchable database of INCI names held on the Europa website COSING 


CI Numbers

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, especially important if the dye is not produced within the UK or EU. As with other ingredients, you should obtain an MSDS for each colour that you use and quite often the detail you need is contained within this supporting document.


CI numbers follow the format "CIXXXXX" and will always have 5 numbers after the CI prefix.  For single dyes such as water soluble powders, one CI number will be present but for some water soluble liquid blends there may be two or three Ci numbers. For Micas, you can expect a minimum of 2 CI numbers, as Mica itself has a CI number and then there will be other dyes added to that in order to create the particular shade.

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