Decoding the INCI List: Your Ultimate Guide to Skincare Ingredients

Decoding the INCI List: Your Ultimate Guide to Skincare Ingredients

Hey there, skincare enthusiasts! 🌟

Ever flipped over your favourite moisturizer or serum and been hit with a wall of scientific-sounding ingredients? Don't worry, you're not alone! The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, or INCI list, can look like it’s straight out of a chemistry textbook. But guess what? We're here to demystify it for you, making it as easy as chatting with a friend over coffee.

What’s an INCI List Anyway?

First things first: the INCI list is basically a fancy way of saying "ingredient list." It’s a standardized system for naming ingredients in cosmetics, ensuring that everyone from Tokyo to Toronto can understand what’s in their products (even if you don't speak the language). Transparency, yay!

Here's one of ours - this is the back of our Fresh Face Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover bottle.  👉

 

 

Top Tips for Reading an INCI List

  1. Ingredients Are Listed by Quantity
    The ingredients are listed in descending order, meaning the ones at the top are present in the highest amounts. If “Aqua” (that’s water obvs) is the first ingredient, it’s the main component.

  2.  Spot the Actives
    Active ingredients are the ones doing the heavy lifting. Look for goodies like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin c. They might be listed towards the middle or bottom, but that’s okay—sometimes a little goes a long way!

  3. Beware of the Baddies
    Not all ingredients are your skin’s BFFs. Watch out for potential irritants like denatured alcohol, artificial fragrances, and sulfates. These can be especially tricky for sensitive skin types.

  4. Know Your Latin
    Some ingredients are listed in their Latin names, especially plant extracts. For instance, “Aloe Barbadensis” is just fancy talk for aloe vera. Don’t let the Latin spook you! Most brands will also list the common name in brackets after the Latin to keep things simplified.
  1. Understand the Role of Each Ingredient
    Ingredients have specific roles, like emollients (moisturizers), surfactants (cleansers), and preservatives (keep the product safe and fresh). Recognizing these can help you understand why they’re in your product.

Examples of Natural and Plant-Based Ingredients:

  • Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Seed Oil
    Lightweight and protects skin barrier (and a local ingredient to boot!)
    In our Radiant Face Oil

  • Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
    Moisturizing and mimics skin’s natural oils
    In our Fresh Face Cleanser & Radiant Face Oil

  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
    An antioxidant that protects both the product and your skin
    In our Fresh Face Cleanser & Radiant Face Oil

  • Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract
    Known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties
    In our Radiant Face Oil

  • Camellia Sinensis (Camellia) Seed Oil
    Green tea — an antioxidant powerhouse
    In our Radiant Face Oil

Australian Laws and Regulations

In Australia, skincare products are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS). These bodies ensure that cosmetics are safe and appropriately labelled. But here’s the kicker: not all brands adhere strictly to these regulations. Some might skip full disclosure or use misleading marketing terms like “all-natural” without backing it up (don't get me started on greenwashing, that's a whole other article - watch this space)

 

To ensure you're getting the real deal:
  • Read the INCI List: A truly transparent brand will list all ingredients clearly, without hiding behind vague terms. Both on their products and on the website.

  • Research the Brand: A little sleuthing can go a long way. Brands committed to transparency often share detailed information about their sourcing and manufacturing processes.

  • Ask: any brand worth their weight in gold will answer any questions you might have. While they won't divulge their specific formula, if they fob you off or try to give you vague answers... press them harder!

     

    Transparency Is Key

    We get it—ingredients can sound intimidating. But we believe in transparency and honesty. You deserve to know what you're putting on your skin, and more importantly, why it's there. That’s why we’re all about breaking down the science in a way that’s friendly and easy to understand.

     

    Education Empowers You

    Understanding your skincare means you can make informed choices that are best for your unique skin. So next time you pick up a product, flip it over and give that INCI list a scan. With a little practice, you'll be decoding those ingredients like a pro!

    Remember, we're here to help you on your skincare journey—no judgment, just good vibes and great skin.

    Got questions about an ingredient? Ask away! We’re in this together, learning and glowing every step of the way. 🌟✨

    Stay curious and keep shining!

    Lucy (she/her)
    Skiin Days Founder and Friendly Neighbourhood Skin Specialist
    Your best skin days are yet to come
    Pro Age Natural Skincare (that really works!)

     

     

    Disclaimer
    All content within this blog is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Skiin Days is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this site. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health

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