Times they are a changing in this exciting new world of ours. Now that we have access to so much information at our fingertips we can research and become educated on so many things. It’s wonderful! And so, once we would blindly buy a skincare product because someone we know, or a celebrity sponsor told us it was the bees knees, now we’re a lot more likely to do our own research. And that’s a good thing.
Enter the INCI list. Pronounced INKY, in case you’re wondering. INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. All cosmetic and cosmeceutical ingredient lists must use the INCI names for their ingredients. The rationale for this is to minimise the language barriers that can hinder understanding and make things misleading for us little ol’ consumers.
INCI ingredient names on product labels allow consumers to easily compare ingredients between multiple products, ensuring transparency in ingredient disclosure.
It may be a no brainer but similar to the way ingredient listings of food items work, the list is ranked from highest % to lowest % within a product.
For example, Aspect Extreme B17 INCI list is, in part, as follows:
Water, Niacimamide (Vitamine B3), Glycerin, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/ Leaf /Stem Extract, Panthenol, Lecithin, Tocopherol Acetate, Lactic Acid, Niacinamide Polypeptide, Yeast Polypeptidesterminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Fruit Extract, Fucus, Serratus Extract …….(and quite a few more, typing these out is no mean feat!)
What I wanted to demonstrate here, is that this is a product labelled as a Vitamin B serum and one simple look at the INCI list proves it’s claim, simply because the 2nd largest % ingredient after water is Niacinamide, also known as Viatamin B3. It also has a number of other active ingredients such as Lactic Acid, and Tocopherol (Vitamin E). I would happily buy this product knowing it contains what it says it does.
So what point am I trying to make?
It’s to arm yourself with enough knowledge not to get bamboozled by pretty packaging and over-enthusiastic sales people. You don’t have to be an expert. Just know enough that your bullsh1t detector can quickly take a look at the INCI list to determine what the active ingredients of the product are and whether the price is warranted.
Remember too, that what’s not in a product is JUST as important as what is: ensure there are no nasties like SLS – Sodium Laurel Sulphate, Mineral Oils, Parabens and harsh detergents.
Yesterday I was in a high end cosmetic boutique that shall remain nameless. I was being ‘sold’ on a so-called active product that, admittedly has a very good reputation, comes in beautiful packaging and has a correspondingly high price tag. The poor sales girl was not a happy chappy because I simply looked at the INCI listing and my bullsh1t radar was on SUPER high alert. There was nothing active in the so-called product and it actually contained SLS as super high on the list.
The moral of the story, knowledge is power!!! A little bit of education can save you a lot of money, and ensure you’re putting the best products on your precious skin.
Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. Any skin aesthetician worth their salt will know these details stat, and if they don’t they should make it their mission to find out for you. You deserve it if you’re forking over your hard earned cash!
Light and Love