Diploma in Formulating with Natural Surfactants

Shower Gels, Body Washes, Bubble Bath, Liquid Soaps & Foaming Facial Cleansers

Confidently formulate your own
natural foaming face, body and hand washes:

including Body & Face washes, Shower Gel & Shower Mousse, Bubble Bath, Liquid soap, Foaming Facial Cleansers and Exfoliating Products

Do you want to avoid harsh detergents such as SLS and formulate using gentle, natural plant-based ingredients instead?

Would you love to create your own natural foaming products such as face wash, body wash and liquid soaps either for yourself or to sell to customers?

If so then our Diploma in Formulating with Natural Surfactants is for you!

Learn from our professional Cosmetic Scientist how to:


Create your own range of natural surfactant-based foaming face, body and hand washes including creamy and exfoliating types


Become a confident formulator, who uses the proper and professional way to formulate with natural, gentle and green surfactants


Make natural, organic, biodegradable, palm-free and sulphate-free products


Design targeted products that meet the specific needs of yourself or your customers and keep them coming back for more

When you know how to work with natural surfactants you can create luxurious foaming products that care for the skin rather than drying it out and irritating it. You can create your own effective, ethical, and toxic-free products that will be a joy to make and use.

Don’t just take our word for it,
see what our students are saying

“I feel more confident now working with different kinds of ingredients to create the product I want.”

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this formulation course. It’s so much more than I had expected and exactly what I needed. I have learned so much from it and feel more confident now working with different kinds of ingredients to create the product I want.”

Jean Liao, Toronto, Canada

We’re Gail and Gareth, Directors of the School of Natural Skincare

Our goal is simple: to help you create gorgeous natural and organic products either for yourself or to start a business.

Our mission is simple: to provide empowering, educational and enjoyable training that helps you become confident product formulators and makers.

Our vision is simple: to live in harmony with the natural world and look to nature for the answers to our own radiance, health and happiness.

Learn from a professional Cosmetic Scientist

Chandni Patel is our consultant Cosmetic Scientist and she’ll be guiding you through your studies with us. With a BSc in Cosmetic Science from the London College of Fashion plus many years of experience working in the cosmetics industry formulating for big brands, she has the enthusiasm, experience and knowledge to ensure you succeed. Chandni 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.

Don’t just take our word for it,
see what our students are saying

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 flavours. 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.”

Dennis Julien, Fribourg, Switzerland

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation graduate

The theory, practice, art and science of formulating with surfactants in a multi-media online course!

Here’s what’s included:

Module-by-module course content:

Module 1: The Science of Surfactants

In this module, we’ll lay the foundations for successfully formulating with surfactants by looking at the science of surfactants, including:

  • What is a surfactant
  • Structure of surfactants
  • Product types surfactants can be found in
  • The 7 principal functions of surfactants:
  1. Wetting
  2. Foaming
  3. Dispersion
  4. Emulsification
  5. Detergency
  6. Solubilisation
  7. Viscosity Regulation
  • How surfactants achieve each of those functions

Module 2: Types of Surfactants

In this module you will:

  • Learn the different surfactant classes
  • Gain an insight into the characteristics of each surfactant class, their advantages and disadvantages and which product types they are suitable for
  • Understand where surfactants can be naturally sourced from
  • Learn about 21+ naturally derived/organic surfactants available on the market and their properties

BONUS:  Natural Surfactant Reference Chart: make selecting your surfactants simple by easily comparing 18 naturally derived/organic surfactants, their properties and benefits.

Module 3: The HLB System

In this module you will:

  • Understand what the HLB system is
  • Understand how the HLB system indicates the hydrophilic or lipophilic nature of a surfactant
  • The advantages of using the HLB system
  • Understand what the ‘required’ HLB value is
  • Understand how to calculate the ‘required’ HLB value for formulas

Module 4: Thickeners and Gums, and Adjusting pH

In this module you will:

  • Understand the benefits of using thickeners and gums in your surfactant systems
  • Gain an insight into the different family of thickeners used in cosmetics
  • Gain an overview of natural thickeners and gums and their benefits
  • Gain an understanding of synthetic thickeners
  • Understand salt thickeners and how they affect a surfactant system
  • Learn how to select the right thickener for your product

You will also learn how to adjust the pH of your product. You’ll learn: 

  • How to test and adjust pH of your products
  • How to calculate how much solid NaOH and citric acid have been used to adjust the pH in your formula

Module 5: Extracts, Vitamins, Conditioning Agents, Preservatives and Exfoliants

In this module, we’ll delve into the many wonderful ingredients that can be used with your surfactant blends to create some unique and luxurious natural products, including exfoliating face and body washes.

You will learn about:

  • Botanical extracts available on the market and their benefits
  • Using vitamins in surfactant systems
  • A selection of the natural preservatives available
  • Adding conditioning agents to your surfactant systems
  • What the benefits are of using exfoliators, both physical and chemical (AHAs and BHAs)
  • The different levels of exfoliation and different types of exfoliators available
  • How to select the right exfoliator for your formula

Module 6: Formulating Foaming Body Products

This is where things get really exciting! In this module, you’ll put the knowledge you’ve gained into action and formulate your own unique foaming body and hand products.

Use our step-by-step formulation process to help you choose your primary and secondary surfactants and other natural ingredients to formulate products that meet the needs and desires of your customers (or yourself).

Vary foam density and texture, foam capacity, fragrance, colour, and cleansing capacity to create your perfect product!

  • Formulating body washes and shower gels
  • Formulating shower mousse
  • Formulating bubble bath
  • Formulating liquid hand soap
  • Formulating exfoliating body washes

Module 7: Formulating Foaming Facial Products

In this module, you’ll design and create a range of beautiful foaming facial products. You’ll create both face washes and foaming cleansers, which are liquid in the container and become a foam when dispensed into your hand.

Use our step-by-step formulation process to help you choose your primary and secondary surfactants and other natural ingredients to formulate products that meet the needs and desires of your customers (or yourself).

Vary foam density and texture, foam capacity, fragrance, colour, exfoliating and cleansing capacity to create your perfect product!

  • Formulate facial washes
  • Formulate foaming facial cleansers
  • Formulate exfoliating facial products

Module 8: Good Manufacturing Practice and Troubleshooting

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is crucial when making your products, whether you are making them for yourself or as a business. We’ll provide you with a checklist so you can easily ensure you are meeting the required standards for health, hygiene and best practice.

Our Troubleshooting guide will help you solve common issues that can arise when you are formulating with surfactants.

The Diploma in Formulating with Natural Surfactants is currently closed to new enrollments.

“The course was simply extraordinary! It was just the right amount of reading/reference materials, videos, and opportunities to practice formulating products”

The last several months have been exceptionally busy and stressful at work. I found myself looking forward to the weekends when I could devote a few hours to study and complete the modules at my local coffee shop or sitting by the lake. You have done a tremendous job putting this course together! It was just the right amount of reading/reference materials, videos, and opportunities to practice formulating products at just the right stage of my learning. The reference guides will be a helpful reference for years to come. Both of your passion for your work and teaching shows through and has been an inspiration for me.

Heather Weinbauer-Literski, Wisconsin, USA

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation graduate

Have a question? See our answers to your most FAQs here:

Is the course accredited?

Yes! The Diploma in Formulating with Natural Surfactants is accredited by the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Certification Service.   The CPD Certification Service is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors. They are a globally recognized institution and accredit courses by prestigious organisations including the University of Westminster and the London School of Economics – and ours, too!   The CPD Certification Service assesses each course individually, evaluating the quality of training materials and learning activities against the highest standards.   We are delighted to have passed the formal and impartial CPD accreditation process carried out by the team of experienced assessors at the CPD Certification Service. See our Accreditations and Memberships page for more information on our professional memberships and accreditations.

I live in Australia/ USA/ India/ _______(insert country here). Can I still take the course?

Yes! The course is a fully online training program that consists of online training videos, downloadable workbooks and worksheets and an online student mastermind group. It is designed to be taken from home from anywhere in the world and the products we make meet global quality and safety standards. We’ll provide information on ingredient suppliers in many different countries and will guide you to the relevant regulations wherever you are based, too. We have students in over 120 countries so you’ll be joining a thriving community of global students when you join!

Are there any assignments?

Yes, if you’d like to receive a Diploma certificate on completion of the course then there are three assignments to complete. These are very straightforward to complete once you have studied the materials. 

Why do you charge in US$?

We are an international school based in the UK. As we have students all around the world and as US$ is the most widely recognised currency we accept enrollments in US$. If you are based in a different part of the world, your bank or paypal will convert the payment into your local currency for you. You can also use a website such as xe.com to check the exchange rate.

Do you send us any materials or ingredients?

No, you won’t receive anything in the mail from us. The course is a fully online training program that consists of online training videos, downloadable workbooks and worksheets and an online student mastermind group. We will suggest the materials and ingredients that you may like to purchase and where to buy them from. We have a list of worldwide recommended suppliers.

Could you give me an idea of the costs for equipment and ingredients I would need to buy to complete the course?

The amount you spend is up to you, you really can spend as little or much as you like. We recommend that you spend time first learning about different ingredients using the workbooks we provide, and creating your formulas (recipes) on paper before rushing out to buy lots of ingredients. This means that you won’t waste money on things you don’t need and you will buy the ingredients best suited to the type of product you want to create. Of course if you want to go ahead and buy lots of different ingredients you can, but it certainly isn’t necessary. In terms of equipment you will need some good digital scales, a thermometer and a few other things which are mostly basic kitchen or lab equipment that can be picked up inexpensively online. We provide more guidance during the course.

How much time will the course take?

Each module is different in length. We recommend putting aside on average 2-3 hours for each module. You can put in more time if you wish to delve in deeper to researching ingredients and creating a wider range of formulations. If you have less time, that is fine also as all the materials are yours to keep to catch up on in your own time. You could even sign up now and study the material in a few weeks’ or months’ time if you needed, too.

How long will I have access to the course?

You will have access to the online classroom for three years from starting the course. Plenty of time to study all the materials and have your product line designed! You can also download many of the materials to save on your own computer and keep for longer than that, and if you wish to renew your access for another year this is possible too, for a small fee.

Are there set lessons to do on specific days or can you do it in your own time?

The course is a self study, self-paced course so you can study at a time that suits you and compete the course as quickly or slowly as you wish.

I don’t have any experience, is the course still suitable for me?

Yes it is possible to take this Diploma class as a beginner. This is a more advanced course than some of our others, so we have highlighted inside the online classroom which are essential modules and which are the optional more advanced modules.

Depending on your ability and desire you may wish to miss out the more complex modules (you will still be able to formulate your products successfully). If you wish to learn in more detail then you will want to delve into the more complex modules, too.

What help is available if I need it?

The course has been designed primarily as an independent study program. You can work through the materials at a time that suits you, completing the exercises and practicing your formulation skills. However, we understand that it’s nice to meet others on the course and have someone you can ask a question to if you get stuck. We have a weekly Tutor Q&A session in our private student Facebook group plus you can reach out to your student peers anytime. 

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