Design your own range of unique natural or organic skincare products
Accredited online course. Study from anywhere in the world!
This is our most in-depth training program, taking you step-by-step through designing, formulating and creating your own product range.
If you want to take your skincare product development to the next stage, then you’re in the right place.
Our fully revised, updated and expanded course can help you to turn your hobby into a thriving business.
- Design, formulate and create a range of high-performance natural and/or organic products for yourself or to sell
- Learn to formulate like a professional
- Take your products to the next level
- Start your own natural skincare business or natural beauty brand!
Watch our quick video to learn how the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation can help you
Why learn to formulate your own products?
Create your own recipes – don’t just follow others.
Select ingredients & design products tailored to the needs of your target customers – this is the key to creating products that sell like hotcakes.
Save time and costly mistakes. Learn the skills to formulate like a professional not an amateur.
It’s YOUR responsibility to sell products that are safe for your consumers. Don’t take any chances. Have peace of mind that you are creating high quality, safe products.
Student Case Study
The course offered me everything I needed
“The Diploma has helped me an immense amount by giving me the confidence to make products, be aware of safety guidelines, learn some really interesting information on the benefits of various oils and be experimental with scents and flavors. The products I have formulated have been really well received. “The course offered me everything I needed. I enjoyed the way the information was given, the resources, tutorials and support. It was a great step-by-step course I would do again.”
Fribourg, Switzerland, www.moncosmetics.com
Whether natural beauty is your passion and your hobby, or you want to start a business, this is the training for you
You have no experience and want a complete training program in developing and making your own beautiful natural products, to start a business or for yourself
You already have some experience (you may even already be selling products) and you are ready to create more professional products, with a greater range of ingredients
The theory, practice, art and science of natural skincare in an accredited, multi-media online course!
We’re Gail and Gareth, Directors of the School of Natural Skincare
The School’s team of expert tutors include a Cosmetic Scientist, Cosmetic Formulator, Aromatherapist, Beauty Business Expert and Safety Assessor and all are passionate about helping you create beautiful products and thriving businesses.
Founded in 2010, the School has trained 2500+ students in 50+ countries to make their own natural and organic skincare products and launch successful businesses.
The School’s fabulous recipes and fun, creative classes have been featured by the BBC and glossy magazines like Green Parent, Spirit & Destiny and Country Homes and Interiors Magazine.
Proudly featured in...
Learn from a professional Cosmetic Scientist
The Diploma in Natural and Organic Skincare Formulation has been created with Chandni Patel, our consultant Cosmetic Scientist. Chandni has a BSc in Cosmetic Science from the London College of Fashion, is a full member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists and has formulated every type of cosmetic, including skincare, haircare and nail varnish, for brands such as The Body Shop, Tisserand, REN: Clean Skincare and many more.
Study from anywhere in the world, in your own time!
14 beautiful, in-depth modules
80+ video classes
28+ fillable and printable worksheets
10+ ingredient workbooks and charts
Instant access to the entire course. No tests to take to access Modules.
Private online student community: get support from Formulation tutors, students and graduates
Resources for further research, including where to find peer-reviewed scientific research
Your assignments personally marked by our Cosmetic Scientist
Student Case Study
Completing the Diploma has enabled me to formulate my products properly and deliberately and launch my brand Gallipot.
I can make informed decisions regarding ingredient selection and define my product. I now understand percentages and weight conversions too, so I am confident I am formulating properly.
I have learned new vocabulary and I can now make hydrous products as well as anhydrous products.
I really enjoyed the course and appreciated the availability and support of Gail and Gareth. The Diploma was perfect for me!
Lindri Henegar Riveras, Seattle, USA
Here’s what the course modules contain…
Module 1: Your unique products and brand
Create a unique brand by identifying who your customers are and defining your vision, values and uniqueness.
1.1 Values and niches
Why are you making products? What do you stand for? Infusing your brand with your values and the values of your customers will help you stand out and build customer loyalty.
1.2 Brand examples and inspiration
Get inspired by brands who have nailed their niche and uniqueness.
1.3 Defining ‘natural’ and ‘organic’
Discover the different shades of natural and decide what definition of natural you will use. Weigh up the pros and cons of organic certification.
1.4 Getting certified
Explore the different global standards and options for certification: organic, natural, vegan, fairtrade, cruelty-free, gluten-free and more. Our handy charts will allow you to see at a glance the options available to you.
1.6 Creating YOUR brand
This lesson will bring together all the exploration you’ve done in this Module and you’ll identify your brand story and what makes your brand unique.
1.5 Elements of a winning brand
Want to create a brand that stands out from the crowd and that your ideal customers resonate with? In this lesson you’ll learn what makes a winning brand and start to craft your own unique and fabulous brand.
Module 2: Skincare product design: Design products that customers love
Formulate your products and select your ingredients properly and deliberately in order to achieve the result you or your customers desire.
2.1 Step-by-step design process
Learn our signature 6-step process to create a must-have product!
2.2 Using a product development brief
A product development brief is crucial to designing successful products. Discover the key questions you need to answer before you start formulating. Completing our Product Development Brief is essential, each time you create a product.
2.3 Perfecting your formula
Discover the 8-step process to perfecting your formula. Learn how to take your Product Development Brief through to a finished product and what to do next to create a perfect product!
Module 3: Creating professional cosmetic formulations
Write professional formulations (rather than recipes), become an effective formulator and evaluate your formulations to achieve the perfect product.
3.1 What is a cosmetic? Cosmetic categories
Before you start to formulate products you’ll need to ensure your products fall into the cosmetic category rather than drug category (or a whole different set of regulations apply).
3.2 Types of cosmetic formula
Learn the 3 main types of cosmetic formula that we’ll cover in this course and the facts about each. You’ll never be confused about whether you need a preservative again!
3.3 What is a formula?
Discover how to write a professional formula and the essential information to include. We’ll take you through this step by step so even if you are completely new you’ll feel confident writing formulas rather than recipes and understand why it is so important.
3.4 What makes a great formulator?
Becoming a product formulator is very different to following recipes. We will set you up for success by showing you how you can hone your skills and knowledge and become a great formulator.
3.5 Elements of a great performing formula
There are 6 key elements that create a great performing formula: functionality, stability, sensory characteristics, aesthetics, chemical attributes and pack suited. Learn how to apply these to ensure your formulas are of the highest quality.
3.6 Product evaluation
Properly evaluate your products by evaluating key characteristics of your formula, and making any necessary adjustments to perfect your formula. Our step-by-step product evaluation process makes this easy!
Module 4: Skin anatomy and physiology. Formulating for different skin types.
Understand how the skin functions, the physiological changes that occur as the skin ages, and common characteristics of each skin type so you can formulate products suited for oily, sensitive, dry, combination and aging skin.
4.1 The skin: its role, function and how it works
Learn the 7 main functions of the skin, then we’ll take you layer-by-layer through the structure and function of the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layer.
4.2 Skin hydration
Learn how to keep skin hydrated and the essential ingredients to include in formulations aimed at assisting skin hydration.
4.3 Skin barrier
One of the most important functions of the skin is its role as a barrier. Learn the structure of the skin barrier, significance of the lipid barrier, environmental factors that affect skin barrier function and how cosmetic ingredients and products can maintain healthy skin barrier function.
4.4 The acid mantle
An important role of the acid mantle is to maintain the skin’s pH balance, which helps maintain skin softness, suppleness, smoothness and strength.
Discover factors affecting the acid mantle pH, possible characteristics of disrupted acid mantle pH, and how to protect and restore the acid mantle.
4.5 Skin aging
Understand in detail how the skin ages, the physiological changes, visible signs of skin aging and how skincare products can improve the appearance of aging skin.
4.6 Sun damage
Discover what sun damage does to the skin and how to address this in your products. We’ll look at the visible signs of photo-aged skin, physiological changes in epidermis and dermis, and types of ingredients to use to improve the signs of sun-damaged skin.
4.7 Absorption of ingredients into the skin
Discover how ingredients are absorbed into the skin.
4.8 Formulating for different skin types: sensitive, oily, dry and aging
Here we’ll take a closer look at different skin types, the characteristics of these skin types, how to formulate for them and beneficial ingredients. We’ll give you a guide for each skin type which will be invaluable when you start formulating!
Module 5: Cosmetic ingredients and raw materials
Choose ingredients with confidence! Learn the functions, properties and benefits of a wide range of ingredients and how to select ingredients for your formulations.
5.1 Classifying ingredients
Ingredients fall into different categories and it’s important to understand which category they belong to so you can formulate with them effectively.
5.2 Emollients, occlusives and humectants including carrier oils and butters
Emollients, occlusives and humectants are fundamental ingredients in many skincare products. Use our handy workbook to learn about the properties and qualities of carrier oils, butters, waxes and humectants to use in your formulations. You’ll also discover 10 factors to consider when choosing your carrier oils so you pick the right oils for the right products.
5.3 Essential oils
Learn how to choose which essential oils to use, the therapeutic properties of essential oils and their contraindications, and how to blend essential oils. We’ll also cover calculating safe usage levels and allergen levels.
5.4 High-performance ingredients
In this workbook you’ll learn all about a wide range of high-performance ingredients that will give your products a real edge. We cover actives, botanical extracts, vitamins and cosmeceuticals. In addition you’ll learn how to choose botanical extracts and about the best antioxidants for your products.
5.5 Aesthetic ingredients
Here we’ll take a closer look at natural and organically certified emulsifiers, preservatives, rheology modifiers and thickeners.
5.6 Buying and researching ingredients
We’ll share an invaluable list of cosmetic suppliers based all around the world and give you our top resources for carrying out your own research into ingredients.
Module 6: Lab skills, equipment and packaging
Develop the essential skills and knowledge to make your products safely and effectively, ensuring consistency and quality. Understand percentages and weight conversions to make batches of different sizes.
6.1 Equipment needed
Learn about the equipment you’ll need to set up your own small-scale lab at home plus the equipment used in professional manufacturing settings. You’ll also learn about the scaling-up process: how to take a product you have formulated at home into a manufacturing setting.
6.2 Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
GMP is essential for producing high-quality products and is a fundamental requirement if you sell your products. Our handy checklist will ensure that you have easy-to-follow guidelines in place.
6.3 Lab techniques and skills
Develop some of the key skills you need for making your products: weighing, heating, calibrating, sanitizing, filling and homogenizing.
6.4 Testing and adjusting pH
Here you will learn how and why to test the pH of your products, how to use a pH meter, how to adjust the pH of your product and how to rewrite your formula to include your pH adjustor.
6.5 Calculating batch sizes
Students often come to us really confused about formulation math! We’ll help you to become confident working in percentages and calculating weight-based measurements for different batch sizes. We’ll even provide a handy batch calculator to make it really easy!
6.6 How to choose packaging
Choose your packaging based on the 7 key considerations that we’ll share with you in the lesson.
Module 7: Preserving products naturally
Put into place strategies to extend the shelf life of your products and preserve your products effectively to ensure they stay in optimum condition.
7.1 Introduction to microbiology
Understand what microbes are, types of microbes and the conditions under which they grow. Then you’ll know how to stop them spoiling your products!
7.2 Strategies for prolonging shelf life
Here you’ll learn the 7 ways you can ensure the highest quality and longest shelf life of your products.
7.3 New technologies in natural preservation of products: hurdle technology
Learn about some of the new breakthroughs happening in natural preservation.
Module 8: Formulating oils and serums
Formulate and make a range of gorgeous anhydrous, preservative-free oils and serums for the face, bath and body.
8.1 Formulating body and massage oils, including Dry Oil Body Spritz
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them; and watch a practical video demonstration.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including Dry Oil Body Spritz and Aromatherapy Massage Oil.
8.2 Formulating bath and shower oils including Blooming Bath Oils
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them; and watch a practical video demonstration.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including Citrus Blooming Bath Oil with Kukui Nut Oil and Aromatherapy Bath Soak.
8.3 Formulating facial oils and serums
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, and typical ingredients and how to formulate them.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Borage Facial Oil and Antioxidant Facial Serum with CoEnzyme Q10.
8.4 Formulating cleansing oils and Oil to Milk Cleansers
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Gentle Oil to Milk Cleanser.
Module 9: Formulating butters and balms
Formulate and make a range of gorgeous anhydrous, preservative-free balms and butters, including lip balms, treatment balms and cleansing balms.
9.1 Formulating whipped body butters
Learn about this product type, their characteristics, typical ingredients, how to create smooth butters and avoid graininess. Learn how to make lighter-feeling body butters as well as rich nourishing body butters and design one perfect for your skin type and preferences. Watch us make one in a practical video demonstration.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Skin Softening Lemon Whipped Body Butter with Kokum Butter.
9.2 Formulating balms and salves
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them. Learn how to create a range of balms – lip balms in both twist-up sticks and cute tins, cleansing balms and treatment balms. Balms have become a real trend in the natural skincare market: as they are made without water they are preservative-free and packed full of nourishing butters, oils and waxes. Watch us make one in a practical video demonstration and develop your own from scratch – we’ll take you step-by-step through the process!
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Mixed Berry Lip Balm and Wild Rose Beauty Balm.
Module 10: Formulating spa-style soaks, scrubs and polishes
Formulate and make a range of indulgent soaks, scrubs and polishes just like you’d find in a high-end spa!
10.1 Formulating soaks and scrubs
Learn about this product type, their functions, characteristics, typical ingredients and how to formulate them.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Relaxing Rose and Milk Bath Soak and an Invigorating Green Clay Body Scrub.
10.2 Formulating facial and body polishes
Here we will focus on using an innovative sugar-based emulsifier to create facial and body polishes that emulsify on contact with water, rinsing off easily and leaving skin perfectly moisturized. Learn about this product type, their functions, characteristics, typical ingredients and how to formulate them. Formulation templates and examples are provided.
Module 11: Formulating toners, spritzers and mists
Formulate and make a range of refreshing toners, spritzers and mists using delicate hydrosols and botanicals.
11.1 Formulating toners and spritzers
Learn about these product types: what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them. We’ll look at toner types, functions and ingredients; the function and benefits of alcohol-free spritzers; and how to use solubilizers.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a beautiful Rose Flower Mist.
Module 12: The emulsification process
Understand the science of emulsification: become confident in making emulsions and solving stability issues
12.1 What is an emulsion?
Creams and lotions are example of emulsions and in this lesson you’ll learn: what an emulsion is; the two main phases of an emulsion; simple emulsion types O/W and W/O; different uses of cosmetic emulsions; and 3 types of emulsification needed to form a successful emulsion.
12.2 The science of emulsification
In this more advanced lesson we’ll take a closer look at the science of emulsification, what an emulsifier is and how they work.
12.3 How to make an emulsion: phases and stages in emulsion manufacture
In this lesson you’ll learn: the 3 phases of an emulsion and how these are written in your formula; the 3 stages of making an emulsion (heating, mixing and cooling); 3 factors in the manufacturing process that can affect your emulsion characteristics; and the difference between hot process and cold process emulsification.
12.4 How to choose your emulsifier, plus 8 natural and organic emulsifiers
This lesson will help you choose which emulsifier to use. Discover key questions to ask when choosing your emulsifier and use our emulsifier checklist to help you create stable emulsions. You’ll also learn about 8 natural and organic emulsifiers that you can use to create certified organic creams and lotions.
12.5 Solving emulsion instability
It can be very frustrating when lotions separate and you don’t know what you did wrong and how to fix it! This lesson will ensure that you know the steps you can take to solve any stability issues you encounter. You’ll learn the 4 causes of emulsion instability (creaming, sedimentation, flocculation, coalescence) and how to solve them.
12.6 Rheology and viscosity modification
In this advanced lesson you’ll learn how to modify the rheology and viscosity of your creams and lotion using 4 categories of rheology modifiers: powder thickeners, emulsifying thickeners, natural wax thickeners and polymer thickeners.
Module 13: Formulating creams and lotions
Formulate and make a wide range of creams and lotions for the face and body, from lighter body milks and lotions to richer creams and body butters.
13.1 Introduction to formulating creams and lotions
As creams are emulsions containing both an oil phase and water phase there are lots of amazing ingredients that can be used in them! Learn the basics of cream and lotion formulation including which ingredients to include in which phase. We’ll break down a formula into all its components and discuss the function of each main ingredient so you’ll feel confident putting your own formulation together.
13.2 Formulating body creams and lotions
Learn about these product types including body butters, creams, lotions and milks. Discover what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them. Learn to perfect your oil in water emulsions and make a range of products from light body lotions and ‘milks’ that can be applied with a spray to thicker, creamer body butters with a high content of your butter of choice (such as mango, avocado, olive, shea or cocoa). Watch us make one in a video demonstration so you know how to make your own, step-by-step.
Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Passionfruit Body Lotion, Sea Buckthorn Body Milk and Almond Body Butter.
13.3 Formulating facial creams and lotions
This is where things get really exciting! We’ll create beautiful facial moisturizers for all skin types, both light lotions and nourishing creams, with a range of rejuvenating and regenerating ingredients. We can pull out all the stops and delve into high-performance ingredients and active botanicals to create products that are both natural and powerful! Learn about these product types including night creams, day creams and eye creams. Discover what they are, the differences, typical ingredients and how to formulate them. Watch a video demonstration so you know how to make your own, step-by-step.
13.4 Formulating cleansing lotions
Cleansing lotions are a gentle and effective way to cleanse the skin. Learn about the typical ingredients used in cleansing lotions and how to formulate them. Formulation templates and examples are provided including a Soothing Cleansing Lotion for Sensitive Skin.
Module 14: Business essentials
Comply with cosmetic, labeling and claims regulations.
14.1 How to sell your products legally: cosmetic regulations
If you wish to sell your products it is essential that you comply with the relevant cosmetic regulations. In this lesson we’ll provide lots of helpful information so you’ll know the regulations to comply with and what you need to do.
14.2 Cosmetic claims
Understand what you can and cannot say about your cosmetics and how to substantiate any claims you make. This helps you stay compliant with the regulations when labeling and marketing your products.
Don’t just take our word for it,
see what our students are saying
I have really enjoyed the course
It has really helped me fine-tune my formulas and I feel so much more confident with my products and in developing new formulas. Thank you so much
I love the accessibility and the fact I could fit it into my time schedule.
Since taking the Diploma I understand more about finding my market in order to sell and more about the legal implications of selling cosmetics. I understand better how the skin works, the properties and benefits of a lot more ingredients and I can now make a wider selection of products.
I love the accessibility and the fact I could fit it into my time schedule. I enjoyed it all!
Sally Rose, Bristol, UK
I am helping people by creating spa-quality, science-based, therapeutic, organic skincare products
I wanted to learn more than just Internet recipes. I wanted to formulate. Since taking the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation I know more of the science of formulating as opposed to just using or buying ingredients randomly. I enjoyed the assignments because they allowed me to be a scientist and an artist.
The biggest thing I have gained? I am helping people by creating spa-quality, science-based, therapeutic, organic skincare products.
Shannan Fonseca, USA
I now have the knowledge and confidence to turn my hobby into a business
“I wanted to learn how to make my products better, so I can sell them rather than just creating gifts for friends and relatives. I didn’t know how to measure ingredients correctly or know enough about preservatives. I also didn’t know anything about turning my hobby into a business.
I loved the course. It has helped me become more professional in every way. I really valued the self-paced learning and the different types of support. I now have the knowledge and confidence to turn my hobby into a business.”
Joanne Maschmedt, Australia
Since taking the course I can formulate with ease!
“Before taking the course I didn’t know how to modify recipes or scale-up correctly. I also didn’t understand how to select the right ingredients based on skin type. Since taking the course I can formulate with ease!
The course was perfect for me. The videos, written materials, worksheets and assignments were great. I have gained so much: knowledge, inspiration, and a wonderful community – we all learn together and support one another.”
The modules are crafted in such a way that someone can really kickstart their business.
“I used to do a lot of research online, but more often than not I felt lost and I really struggled with confidence. I was keen on learning more, in a structured way, from experts. The course used an organized approach to help me to put all my research into practice.
The way the course is divided into modules really helped me as I could quickly pick up the most relevant one, rather than sifting through lots of information. I loved the course! It provided me with a great foundation.
I loved that the lectures were short and to the point. The modules are crafted in such a way that someone can really kickstart their business.
I am now much more confident when I make my formulations.”
I now have a much better understanding about skin care formulation
“I like the fact that the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation is an online course which gives me the time to understand at my own pace. As I am currently based in China due to work commitments, this course allows me to continue to study from other parts of the world.
The course gives a very good summary of all the information needed to be a formulator, which is easy for anyone to understand. It has helped me to understand the importance of mixing various ingredients to make up a good and effective product. I now have a much better understanding about skin care formulation.”
M Y Toh, China
The course gave me the confidence to experiment.
“Before taking the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation I had a great knowledge of ingredients but didn’t really know how to use them to develop a range of products.
The course gave me the confidence to experiment. The formulation examples and templates provided have given me a strong base so that I can develop and formulate my own products.”
C Sammon, UK
Join the Diploma!
Yes, I’m ready to become a skincare formulator
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Our charity partnership with the Soil Association
School of Natural Skincare will be donating £5 (plus VAT) for every new enrollment to the Soil Association, registered charity number 206862 and in Scotland registered charity number SC039168.
Don’t just take our word for it,
see what our students are saying
I can now create a well-balanced, effective product
“I didn’t have a full understanding of the benefits of different oils, or how to balance the right ingredients in the various stages so they work together for optimal results.
I can now create a well-balanced, effective product. I know which ingredients to include, in the right quantity and in the correct phase, depending on the kind of product I am making.
I also love that I can be regular and accurate with my measurements for different batches. This means my products are consistent and ensures users always experience the same feel and effectiveness.
I loved the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation. The in-depth knowledge has been great! You are raising great men and women who will break boundaries in the cosmetics and beauty industry.”
Oguchi Amaka, Nigeria
“What I have found most useful is knowing the science behind cosmetic formulas so I can tweak them or use alternate ingredients myself. A lot of recipes I found online were not “safe” to use so I needed to know how I could adjust them to become safer.
I found the worksheets and charts provided so useful. They have made it so easy for me to do my own formulas.
If you told me two years ago that I would have my own brand today I wouldn’t have believed you. Just go and do it… there is nothing else like it.”
Muzon Ashgar, Saudi Arabia
It helped me make more challenging products such as creams and lotions
“I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated the content of the Diploma course. It has helped me delve into making more challenging products, such as creams, lotions and cleansers and has also allowed me to improve my already-established recipes… to refine and perfect them! “I have gained confidence and a fundamental platform of knowledge to build and grow my own skincare business. Thank you so much!”
Heather Urquhart, Winnipeg, Canada
The course provided me with everything I needed to know!
“The formulation guides, examples and templates included in the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation are extremely useful and valuable. My biggest challenge before taking the course was finding professional information about formulation techniques. The course provided me with everything I needed to know!
Since taking the Diploma I have a better understanding of the composition of skin and I feel more confident about the products I make. The content was really enjoyable. I love watching Gail and Gareth and the other tutors online; they have a wealth of knowledge to share.”
Rebekah Welch, USA
Cherish Bath and Body