Tomato, Tomahto part 2: different name, same ingredient April 19, 2016 13:40

The last blog post was about different ways of listing ingredients for the same product - the two methods being A) listing the raw input ingredients or B) listing the final ingredients in the finished product. But there are also multiple ways to list the exact same chemical species! 

Baking soda is a great example. The term 'baking soda' is often referred to as the common name for the chemical, meaning it's likely the most recognizable term. However, baking soda can also be called Sodium Bicarbonate. Baking Soda, Sodium Bicarbonate - they are the exact same thing! Sodium Bicarbonate is the more technical name for the chemical, and Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate is another, even more technical name for the same chemical. 

baking soda alternate names

When you add in the idea that different languages already use different names, there are LOTS of different words for the same chemical floating around. Some naming systems specifically aim to address this by giving the chemical a number, instead of a word-based name (CAS numbers are a great example of this). 

So, how to we pick what name to put on our packaging? We use INCI names, or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. It's the industry-wide accepted way to pick a standard name to use on our packaging and it avoids confusion from using common names, which could potentially refer to multiple different chemicals. If you pick up two products that both use INCI nomenclature, you'll quickly be able to tell what ingredients they have in common because they'll be called out as the same thing! No more reading 'baking soda' on one ingredient list and 'sodium bicarbonate' on another, with all the confusion that comes with not quickly understanding these are the same ingredient. Many companies are still including the common names along with INCI names on ingredient lists, to make ingredient lists even quicker to understand so you can get used to reading these important keys to understanding your products. 

We're always looking for ways to make our ingredient lists even easier to understand. if you have questions on our ingredients or something you've seen on another cleaning product, let us know!