Posted by Cristi Gee on

Them: If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t put it in/on your body.

While overall that is a cry for simplicity in labelling and recipe formulation, it is a flawed logic. Would you ever use curcuma longa on or in your body? No? How about using butyrospermum parkii on your skin? Still no?

Well, how about turmeric or shea butter? Yes definitely? Curcuma longa is turmeric and butyrospermum parkii is shea butter. 

Don’t fret, those over-complicated, chemical sounding names are just the INCI names of two very common cosmetic ingredients. INCI stands for International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient and is a system created decades ago to help identify cosmetic ingredients, regardless of where in the world they are being used. The INCI list is used across multiple countries and helps to reduce confusion in cosmetics labelling. In the US, the FDA requires that cosmetics manufacturers list the common name of the product in the ingredient list, but the manufacturers may also include INCI names. It can be helpful if planning to sell outside of the US.

Chemophobia is a very real problem, especially in America where media can be used to push a false, inflated sense of fear as it relates to chemicals. Truthfully speaking, everything is chemical - from the perspective of science. Most everything can be broken down into chemical elements. Did I mention that I love science? Yeah...there’ll be lots of scientific convos peppered throughout the blog entries. I believe the best customer is an educated customer. We’ll approach and examine myths and misinformation related to handmade soap and cosmetics.

While I understand the foundation of the fear of chemicals, I believe we should all strive to be more educated about everything we use in and on our bodies. In this age of information, it is easy to fall into a “group think” mentality and just accept information as presented - especially if it is popular opinion and there’s a catchy quote to go with it.

The truth is that people are afraid of dangerous chemicals and believe our products should be natural and avoid the use of harsh chemicals. It is easy to make wild claims on either side of the debate, but we always encourage that you do your own research before making a decision on trying a product. The manufacturer may be using INCI names on their labels because they have a customer base that extends beyond the home country, or they intend to. This means you’ll likely see more of those hard-to-pronounce words on their labels. It doesn’t mean that they’re trying to saturate your skin with harmful chemicals.

Hopefully this has helped shed some light on why you see all those weird words on the back panel of some products. Enjoy your day and make today a great one! See you on the other side. ;)

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