Diva’s Quick Tips: Deciphering the Hard-to-Pronounce Words on Product Labels with @thechemistdiva

I’m back with the #QuickFacts! Let’s talk about the war on words, shall we? When it comes to products ingredient labels, how many times have you been told “If you can’t pronounce it, it’s bad for you?’ Well, not quite. We want easy and transparent, right? So do I. However, our government’s regulating bodies and others like them around the world want uniformity.

Language and culture presents a barrier when there are many words for the same ingredient. The words we like to see on our labels are what we call “common names.” They’re common in our language, our culture, and/or country. These words can have a different meaning elsewhere or not even exist in languages across the globe. That’s where INCI names come in. It stands for International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient. This is the standardized list of names for cosmetics ingredients that makes it easier to communicate within the industry and with consumers across the globe. Those are the names you see on your product labels, the INCI names.

When you see something in parentheses such as “witch hazel,” that is the common name to help, you the consumer, recognize what it is. It is a company’s way of being compliant while simultaneously catering to their customer. However, that is not mandated like INCI names are. Depending on the budget (labels are expensive) and willigness of the company, you may or may not see both in the ingredient list.

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