1.  What is an INCI name?

An INCI name is a systematic name coined by the International Nomenclature Committee to describe a cosmetic ingredient.

2.  Why do I need an INCI name?

INCI names are recognized around the world to identify cosmetic ingredients, and are referenced by regulation for product labeling in many countries.

3.  How do I apply for an INCI name?

File an electronic INCI application. Click here for details: https://inci.personalcarecouncil.org/

4.  Can the application be mailed or faxed?

No. The application is only available electronically.

5.  Is the INCI process confidential?

Persons filing an INCI application occasionally request that information being submitted be considered “confidential” or a “trade secret.” Neither the Council nor the INC has procedures that are capable of guarding such information from public disclosure. Persons making such requests must be advised that the information provided on the application and attachments cannot be accepted in confidence. To the extent that the Council does receive a request for confidentiality of information, the sender will be informed about the policy on confidentiality and offered an opportunity to withdraw the application. Until the confidentiality issue has been resolved, and the sender has agreed to proceed, the INC will not consider the application.

While neither the Council nor the INC has the capability to ensure confidentiality, all activities conducted by the Council and the INC must adhere to the Council’s Antitrust Policy. As such, INC members should avoid discussing current or future product prices charged by an individual applicant. This includes the price of a specific transaction, or price levels in the market generally, past, present, or future. Discussing individual company or industry sales levels, capacities, inventories, or market shares is also to be avoided or specific cost structures.

6.  Can a company obtain intellectual property rights in a given INCI name?

Persons filing an INCI application must acknowledge that the goal of the INCI Program is to promote the widespread use and international recognition of common, uniform, science-based ingredient names (INCI names) for use in cosmetics, and they must agree not to seek intellectual property protection for, or rights in, any existing or applied for INCI name.

7.  If my product has an INCI name, does that mean it has been approved?

No. INCI names do not imply that an ingredient has been approved for use, or that an ingredient is safe. INCI names provide the systematic name for the identification of a cosmetic ingredient. For further information, see Regulatory Information

8.  How do I find out if my product already has an INCI name?

INCI names are published in the databases associated with INCIpedia. Subscription information to the databases can be accessed from the menu bar. A Public Access area to search for INCI names is available to non-subscribers. The public access area features INCI names, technical synonyms and related CAS or EC numbers (where available), and links to the safety evaluations conducted by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an independent program with a panel of world-class experts in medicine and science that is charged with evaluating all of the available data on the use of cosmetic ingredients and determining if that data demonstrate the safe use of an ingredient in cosmetic products. Non-subscribers must create credentials and "Sign In" for access to the Public area.

9.  What is the INCI number?

The INCI number refers to the monograph ID number that is associated with the INCI name. The monograph ID number is a place holder in the database and is not intended to be included with the INCI name for product labeling. This number is not the same as a CAS number.

10.  If there is no INCI name for an ingredient, can I create my own INCI name if it is nearly the same as an existing INCI name?

INCI names can only be assigned by the International Cosmetic Ingredient Nomenclature Committee.

11. How much does it cost to get an INCI name?

Effective January 1, 2024, the INCI application fee will be $1000 USD per application. Applications successfully submitted will be honored at the current price until December 31, 2023. Please be aware that draft applications are not considered “submitted” until payment has been processed.

12.  When should I apply for an INCI name?

It is advisable to apply at least 6 months before product launch.

13.  How long does it take to get an INCI name?

The approximate time frame is 3-6 months. Click here for details: INCI Application – Name Assignment Timetable.

14.  Can I submit multiple trade names for an INCI name?

Only one trade name may be submitted per application (e.g., separate applications may be filed for each trade name).

15.  What do I do if I don’t have a trade name?

You may indicate N/A on the application if you do not have a tradename. If you plan to supply a tradename at a later date, please be sure to note this on the application.

16.  What do I do if I don’t want my trade name published?

There is a field on the application that asks for this information. Select “no” if you do not want to have your trade name or company name published.

17.  Can I save my application and return to it before submitting?

Yes. Select the “save” icon on the application. When you re-enter the site, your application can be accessed from your application dashboard.

18.  Can I make changes to my application?

Yes, but once the application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. If additional information is requested to support the application, an email notification will be sent to the applicant, and the application will be re-opened so that the requested information can be provided.

19.  How do I change a trade name?

Trade name changes do not require an application or a fee. Trade name changes may be sent to inci@personalcarecouncil.org.

20.  How do I revise my address listing?

Changes to address listings may be sent to inci@personalcarecouncil.org.

21.  What do I do if I have a technical problem with the INCI application site?

Contact Daniel Kim, kimd@personalcarecouncil.org, or Patrick Cherestal, cherestalp@personalcarecouncil.org.

22.  How do I find out about my INCI name assignment?

After the application has been reviewed by the INC, an email notification will be sent to the address on the application via the application site.

23.  Can I request a change in an INCI name?

Yes. There is no application for a name change. Requests may be sent via email. Please be aware when new information is submitted through the petition process, it is possible that the INC may identify a name that is different from the requested name and different from the original assigned name. Also, petitions may not be withdrawn once a decision is rendered. Click here for INCI Name Change Procedures.

24.  Is there a fee to request a change in an INCI name?

At the present time, there is no fee to request a revision in an INCI name. Click here for more details: INCI Name Change Procedures.

25.  When do INCI name changes appear online?

The database is updated nightly.

26.  When will the next print copy of the Dictionary be published?

The last printed copy of the Dictionary was the 16th edition published in 2016. Currently, there are no plans to resume publication of print copies the Dictionary.

27.  If an INCI name has been changed, how much time is allowed for updating product labels?

There is no specific required timeframe associated with label changes. Generally, the rule of thumb is to update labels and product literature when it is economically feasible, i.e., when current stock is depleted.

28.  What is the difference between a name change and a Retired INCI Name?

Name changes result from a petition from a supplier or other stakeholder. Name changes can also arise when the INC identifies important errors in nomenclature that need to be revised. The retirement of an INCI name occurs when a name that has a long history of usage is replaced by an updated name. The name being replaced is called “retired” and is considered to be “grandfathered”. When an INCI name is retired, it is maintained in publication for a transition period to allow for transition to the newer name. For further information about Retired INCI Names and Name Changes, consult the Introduction to the INCI Dictionary.

29.  What if I have two products with identical compositions, but different trade names, can they be listed on the same application?

No, only one trade name may be listed on an application. Only those trade names that go through the application process will be published in the Dictionary.

30.  If I have a product that is similar to another product that has an INCI name but is a different grade, will it be assigned the same INCI name?

In general, INCI names do not imply standards or grades of purity. In some cases, various grades or types of a material can have the same INCI name.

31.  If several different products are assigned the same INCI name, are they interchangeable?

Although INCI names are based on chemical composition, they can encompass products that have differing attributes, or physical characteristics, and for this reason interchangeability should not be assumed. As an example, the INCI name Polyethylene can be applied to ethylene polymers of varying molecular weights, and yet products named as polyethylene could have very different physical characteristics ranging from a soft wax to a semi-solid.

32.  Can I substitute feedstock of similar characteristics but different origin without a change in the INCI name?

INCI names are based on composition, and in many cases are described by source. Therefore, a different feedstock would constitute a different INCI name. For example, the monoisopropanolamide derived from peanut oil would be named Peanutamide MIPA. An alkanolamide derived from a different source oil would be named accordingly, e.g., Oliveamide MEA. Substitutions in feedstock without a corresponding change to the INCI name could result in a misbranded product.

33. How do I get a CAS number?

CAS numbers are provided by the Chemical Abstracts Service, https://www.cas.org/about/faqs.

34.  How do I request to have a CAS number added to the INCI database?

Send an email request and attach the CAS printout for verification.

35.  How do I request to have a function added to an ingredient in the INCI database?

Functions can be added to an ingredient monograph by sending an email request to inci@personalcarecouncil.org. Documentation to support the requested function should accompany the email.

36.  How do I add a product category?

Reported product categories are derived from FDA’s database for the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) on an annual basis. If the ingredient is reported in a cosmetic product through the VCRP, it will automatically be updated in our database. For further about the VCRP, go to the tab for Cosmetics at https://www.fda.gov/.