INCI – to what pay attention in cosmetics

The order of ingredients listed in the cosmetic is not accidental. Ingredients which concentration in the product is the highest are listed as first ones on the label. At the end, however, are the ingredients which content does not exceed 1%. Therefore, sometimes one look is enough to assess whether the cream chosen by us is really worth our attention.

The names of chemical substances are given in English, and substances of vegetable origin in Latin. The base of cosmetics is water and fatty substances. Their proportions determine the consistency and moisturizing properties of the products.

What is the most important?

The active ingredients, contained in the product we choose, are the most important for us. These are components that actively work on the surface of our skin or reach its deeper layers. They have their specific tasks and according to them, we adapt the cosmetic to the needs of the skin. These can be the following ingredients:

– which have inhibitory effect of free radicals recommended for all skin types, eg vitamin C, resveratrol, astaxanthin, grape extract, jojoba oil,

– antimicrobial recommended for acne, seborrhoeic skin, e.g. tea tree oil, zinc,

– with a soothing effect, e.g. kaolin, shea butter, argan oil, panthenol, aloe vera,

– anti-inflammatory, e.g. silver, vitamin E, green clay,

– with an exfoliating effect, e.g. papain, mandelic acid, salicylic acid,


Certainly we should avoid using substances that irritate our skin. However, if we want to use the cream for more than 3 months, we must take into account the content of preservatives in its composition. One of them are parabens – they are tested in terms of safety. Parabens protect the cosmetic from the development of microorganisms – including pathogenic ones. Although in the composition we should avoid some of them, for example, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, formaldehyde. If we are in favor of natural creams, which do not contain preservatives, remember to store them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and apply in such a way as not to introduce impurities into the preparation.

Paraffin and silicones

People with oily and seborrhoeic skin should avoid paraffin that may promote the formation of blackheads. Similarly, silicones that can burden the skin are held in disrepute. They should not be found in cosmetics for the daily care, but they fulfill their function perfectly, if we are looking for products that smooth out the irregularities of the epidermis, e.g. in foundations. Silicones do not penetrate the skin and thus form a smooth layer on the surface of the skin, making it an ideal base for makeup. However, it should be remembered that what makes the skin silky smooth at the same time hinders its proper work and breathing.


Some of us prefers cosmetics that smell very intensively and chooses them based on the smell, turning a blind eye to the fact that they contain more chemical compounds. Some focus on unscented preparations, assuming that they are safer and more natural. In practice, however, it happens that the means used to give fragrances are natural substances such as aromatic oils. However, in order for the cosmetic not to smell at all, sometimes you need to use a lot of chemical compounds, which are designed to remove unpleasant odor ingredients used for production.

The quality of ingredients used in cosmetics, their origin and concentration are one of the factors determining the price. Cosmetics bought in drugstores differ significantly in composition from dermocosmetics bought in pharmacies or professional cosmetics that offer beauty salons. Before we make a purchase, we should carefully examine the needs of our skin, choose the right type of preparations, and then compare them in terms of composition – consciously and sensibly.