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How to translate the INCI ingredients of cosmetics?

In recent years, consumers have been paying more attention to the ingredients in their beauty products. Today we prefer to purchase safe, organic, and non-hazardous cosmetic products.

That’s why it’s particularly important to learn how to interpret cosmetic ingredients, also referred to as INCIs. Correct INCI translations are therefore essential for all cosmetic brands.

What do we mean by the abbreviation ‘INCI’?

INCIs are primarily a means of protecting consumers, who can make more conscious product purchases by reading the information on cosmetics labels.

INCIs list all the ingredients contained in a cosmetic product in order of quantity. Ingredients present in greater quantities are listed first, followed by those of a lesser quantity.

INCI stands for International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredients. Ingredients are listed the same way in all countries that have adopted this nomenclature. Labels bearing INCIs are also written in easily legible letters and long-lasting ink.

Which language should cosmetics ingredients be written in?

Chemical cosmetic ingredients (INCIs) tend to be written in English. The names of the molecules, for example, are written in English.

Botanical names are used for plant extracts, i.e., the Latin name of the plant from which the substance derives.

The consequences of this convention is that INCIs are always written in a combination of English and Latin, regardless of the country in which the cosmetic product is sold.

Of course, this means that INCIs contain a series of complex words that are often difficult to understand for people with no experience in cosmetics, chemistry, or botany.

How to translate INCIs correctly

To make INCIs useful for consumers, they need to be as easy to understand as possible. For this reason, companies translate INCIs into the language spoken in the country where their cosmetic products are sold.

The aim of the game is to make sure consumers can quickly identify cosmetic ingredients. Doing so puts consumers in the best possible position to protect their health (by avoiding the use of products containing ingredients to which they are allergic) and exercise their freedom to purchase what they wish (such as if they prefer to use organic products or those not containing ingredients that are harmful to skin).

Naturally, as is the case for all cosmetics translations, translating INCIs is a technical task that requires accuracy and the use of appropriate scientific terms. Technical glossaries are often required and can either be provided directly by cosmetics companies or sourced by the translation agency. Eurotrad's technical translations are professional, fast, and performed by specialised translators. Request a free quote now or contact us for more information on our translation services.

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July 11, 2022

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