Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary

The Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary

Authored by the Personal Care Products Council (the Council), the trade association for the cosmetic and personal care industry, the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook provides a comprehensive listing of ingredients used in cosmetic and personal care products for the benefit of consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and manufacturers. The combined dictionary/handbook contains more than 13,000 International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) labeling names for the United States, the European Union, and other countries. These are cross-referenced to nearly 60,000 trade and technical names and 3,000 suppliers from 91 countries.

Benefits for Consumers

The need for uniformity in cosmetic ingredient nomenclature has been recognized in countries around the world. There are numerous benefits to a uniform system of labeling names for cosmetic ingredients, including the consistency and transparency provided to consumers as ingredients are identified by a single labeling name regardless of the national origin of the product. Scientists and dermatologists are also ensured that information will be referenced by a uniform name, eliminating the possibility of confusion or misidentification from the use of multiple names for the same material.


The first edition of the Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary was published in 1973 and was cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the primary source of ingredient names for the FDA regulation requiring cosmetic ingredient labeling (U.S. Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 701.3). The 13th edition of the dictionary was published in 2010.

Other Key Information

In addition to ingredient names, the dictionary also includes information on the chemical class, functions and product use categories as reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), when available. It provides information on Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers, empirical formulas, and over-the-counter drugs and includes an index that cross-references Latin and common English botanical names, a Japan index that lists prohibited and restricted ingredients, a list of ingredients evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, and references to appropriate EU Annexes.