One of our favorite cosmetic chemist resources, SpecialChem for Cosmetics, just got a whole lot better.
At this website, you can find all kinds of free information about the cosmetic industry like industry news, technology launches, and even some basic articles. This is good and all, but the INCI Directory that they just launched is really something special. In fact, in some ways it’s even BETTER than the online version of the actual INCI dictionary published by the PCPC.
And best of all…it’s FREE!
The INCI Dictionary is the book which contains all the legal names for the ingredients used in cosmetics. See this previous post on naming cosmetic ingredients for more information. Unfortunately, to get access to the online version you have to be a paying member of the PCPC (not something most individuals can afford).
With the new INCI Directory from SpecialChem, all you need to do is be a registered member to get access. It’s great!
Why the INCI Directory is useful
As a new cosmetic chemist, you are going to run into names of chemicals you’ve never heard. There are literally thousands of compounds and new ones being launched all the time. You just can’t keep up.
If you want to know more about a chemical with an unfamiliar name you would have to go search for the supplier or visit the library (unless you had access to the INCI online dictionary). Now, you can use the INCI Directory instead.
INCI Directory Benefits
The best thing about the INCI Directory for a formulation chemist is the search function. You can look up chemicals by their CAS numbers and by partial matches of their name. One of the biggest complaints about the online INCI Dictionary is that their search function is terrible. You need exact matches instead of partial matches.
Another great feature is the extra information attached to each compound. You’ll find links to technical data sheets, suggested starting formulations, articles which discuss the ingredient, news mentions of the ingredient and even a list of finished products that use the ingredient. This is much more information than the INCI Dictionary gives.
INCI Directory Deficiencies
The primary problem with the free directory is that you have no guarantee that the information is up-to-date and accurate. The PCPC might change something about their listing which the directory might not update. But this is of minor concern when you are doing some basic background research on an ingredient.
The other problem is that you don’t get the chemical formula or molecular structure like you do with the standard INCI Dictionary. However, this information is easily obtained through the numerous technical data sheets that are attached to each entry.
This is a great resource that every cosmetic chemist should be using on a regular basis. The free information should speed up your development time and introduce you to new cosmetic materials you might be interested in trying. It doesn’t replace the INCI Dictionary, but it certainly makes the information much more useful.
Excellent work SpecialChem!!