Knowing the components of something doesn’t tell us their proportions, quality and properties, or how they’re put together.
Like how Daft Punk sampled Eddie Johns’ song “More Spell On You”; snipped, stretched, looped, and rearranged it into “One More Time” — ingredients can be remixed to create something new.
What is INCI? INCI or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients is an English language ingredient dictionary and system of rules for naming the ingredients used in cosmetics.
If no INCI name or naming rule exists, other chemical, scientific, or common names can sometimes be used, depending on the region.
An ingredient list is just that, a list of ingredients. In some regions, the ingredients will be listed in decreasing concentration – some allow them to be listed in any order.
In the US the FDA regulations allow ingredients less than 1% in concentration to be listed in any order (after things higher than 1% in concentration).
Based on the ingredient list of this baked good:
Flour, Milk, Vegetable Oil, Egg, Sugar, Salt
Can you really tell what it is? It could be a cake, a crepe, a popover, a muffin, or pancakes. It could be a lot of things.
Having the concentration of the ingredients gives us a better idea. All this information is missing from an INCI list.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup white sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
But the way that it’s put together is also very important (also information missing from an INCI list).
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Step 2: Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl froth the egg with a fork, then add the milk and oil. Pour all at once into a well in the flour mixture. Mix gently until the batter is lumpy.
Step 3: Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.
Step 4: Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.
Only now do we know that they’re muffins.
Just like the ingredient list of something we eat, a cosmetic or skincare ingredient list can provide us with valuable information.
It might highlight potential allergens or things we are looking to avoid. An ingredient list might give you a general sense of what it will be like. But it can’t tell you everything, and it’s not worth aching over.
You simply can’t divine concentrations, formulations, raw material information, and manufacturing processes if that information just isn’t there.