Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Formulate natural skincare products like a professional.

Design and launch your own skincare brand.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Formulate natural skincare products like a professional.

Design and launch your own skincare brand.

Design your own range of unique, natural or organic skincare products.

Accredited online course.
Multi-award winning school.
Study from anywhere in the world.

The only course you need to create your own skincare brand.

The most comprehensive online course available, taking you through every aspect of creating skincare products – from defining your values and creating your brand, to formulating high-quality, professional skincare products, having them tested and complying with cosmetic regulations.

Student Testimonials

Who is the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation for?

1. Individuals with a passion for skincare

Take your skincare formulation skills to the next level! Formulate for different skin types and concerns. Create products that are natural, organic, vegan, clean and/or sustainable.

2. Beauty brand founders

Everything you need in one course! A complete, all-in-one course that helps you create your brand, formulate your products and take them to market.

Formulate like a professional.
Launch your own brand.
Here’s how…

Why learn to formulate your own products?

Create your own unique, professional standard skincare products – don’t just copy recipes from others.

Select ingredients and design products tailored to the needs of yourself or your ideal customers – this is the key to creating products people love!

Save time and costly mistakes. Learn the skills to formulate like a professional, not an amateur.

It is YOUR responsibility to sell products that are safe. Don’t take any chances. Have peace of mind that you are creating high-quality, safe products.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Student Case Studies

Learn the theory, practice, art and science of natural skincare formulation in an accredited, multimedia online course.

About the School of Natural Skincare International

The School of Natural Skincare International is a multi-award-winning online natural cosmetic formulation school. Our accredited, multimedia online courses cover every aspect of skincare and haircare formulation and are studied from home, wherever our students are in the world, via our online classroom, and with tutor and community support every step of the way.

Founded in 2010 by Directors Gail and Gareth Després, to date the School has trained over 12,000 students in 130 countries to make their own natural and organic skincare and haircare products and launch successful businesses. 

The School’s team of expert tutors include cosmetic scientists, cosmetic formulators, aromatherapists, beauty business experts and safety assessors, and all are passionate about helping you create beautiful natural cosmetics and thriving businesses.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

The School’s fabulous formulations and fun, creative classes have been featured by the BBC and glossy magazines like Green Parent, Spirit & Destiny, and Country Homes and Interiors Magazine.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

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Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Learn to formulate a complete skincare range

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation


Cleansing oils
Oil-to-milk cleansers
Cleansing gels/cleansing melts
Cleansing balms
Emulsifying cleansing balms
Cleansing lotions
Cream cleansers

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation


AHA/BHA toners

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation


Exfoliating facial polish
Exfoliating body polish
Body scrubs
Exfoliating lotion
AHA/BHA exfoliating creams, masks and toner

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Oils and oil-based serums

Facial oils
Oil-based facial serums
Body oils
Massage oils
Dry oil body spritz

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Creams and lotions

Moisturizing fluid
Oil-free moisturizing lotion
Face lotion
Face cream
Body milk
Body lotion
Body cream
Body butter

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation


Hydrating facial gels (water-based)
Body gels (water-based)
Oil-based gels (oleogels)

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Balms and butters

Lip balm
Cleansing balm
Facial balms
Body balms
Massage balms
Oil-gel balms
Anhydrous whipped body butters

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Bath and shower products

Bath soaks
Bath oil
Self-emulsifying bath oil
Shower oil
Self-emulsifying shower oil

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Surfactant products

Facial washes/gel
Body wash
Shower gel

Why study with us?

Learn from and be supported by professional cosmetic scientists.

Tried and tested formulations. Our formulas have passed Preservative Efficacy Testing.

Multi-award winning and accredited school, established in 2010.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Have fun, get creative and be proud of your achievements!

Student Case Studies

Yes, you can learn to formulate!

Our proven system for teaching formulation skills, developed over more than a decade of training provision, means when you study with us you’ll gain the knowledge, skills and support to succeed at formulating.

You don’t need a scientific background; our courses cover everything you need to know. You can rest assured that you are learning from qualified and experienced professionals, and are not being misled by inaccurate, poor quality and unsafe information often found online.

We start with more straightforward products and progress to the more complex or challenging products, so you can build your skills and confidence along the way.

We’ll teach you to formulate by providing the following resources for each type of product:

Essential theory

Such as the chemistry of cosmetics, ingredients, equipment, packaging and suppliers.

Formulation guidelines and templates

We break each product down and explain the ingredients used, their function, benefits and usage rates.


Analyze products on the market to learn how they are formulated and use them as inspiration for your own products, if you wish.

Example formulations

We provide professional standard formulas developed by our cosmetic scientists ready for you to follow, giving you the chance to put the theory into practice.

Video demonstrations

Our high quality, step-by-step video demonstrations will help you learn the practical skills required to successfully make each type of product.

Product development brief and formulation worksheets

Follow the prompts and guidelines in our worksheet to formulate your own products and take the fast track to success.


Have your questions answered by our team of scientists and join our student communities for peer support.

Course Details

Level Beginner to intermediate.
Duration of access 18 months’ access. This can be extended for a small renewal fee.
Prerequisites None. Internet access and access to a computer or tablet is needed to access the online classroom.
Study time required Approx. 70-150 hours. Most students complete the course within 6-18 months.
Certificate Your certificate is issued on successful completion of the end of course assignments.

Here's what's included:

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Study from anywhere in the world, in your own time.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

14 in-depth modules and 14 beautiful textbooks.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Full HD video classes.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

14 workbooks and 28+ fillable, downloadable worksheets.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Library of ingredient information.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Quizzes and activities.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Private online student community: get support from your fellow students and graduates.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Resources for further research including where to find peer-reviewed scientific research.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Tutor support within our online classroom, plus your assignments personally marked by our cosmetic scientists.

Discover the course curriculum…

Module 1: Your Values, Brand and Creating Unique Products

Create a unique brand by establishing your personal or brand values, consider which niche to fill or certifications to adhere to, create a product story and define your brand’s unique selling proposition.

1.1 Your brand values 

We help you define your values so you can create a unique brand that stands out from the crowd (and creates a better world at the same time!). What is important to you as a brand creator? Organic, natural, green, vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, clean, ethical? 

1.1.1 Spotlight: Vegan skincare

We deep-dive into vegan skincare what it is and how to formulate natural, vegan skincare products. 

1.1.2 Spotlight: Sustainable skincare

We deep-dive into sustainable skincare. Discover the three pillars of sustainability and how to make your brand sustainable. 

1.1.3 Spotlight: Waterless skincare 

Discover the benefits of waterless skincare and how to formulate waterless products.

1.2 Defining ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ 

What does natural mean? How do you know if an ingredient is considered natural and permitted in natural cosmetics? What do the terms organic, green and clean mean? We set the record straight so you can choose how to define natural for your brand.

1.2.1 Spotlight: Clean skincare

We deep dive into clean skincare what it is and why it is appealing to consumers. 

1.3 Getting certified 

Certification isn’t essential but you may like to explore your options. Learn about the different global standards and options for certification: organic, natural, vegan, fairtrade, cruelty-free and more. 

1.4 Creating a strong brand identity

Discover 10 key aspects of a strong brand identity and how to use them to create your own unique and inspiring brand that your ideal customers love! Learn from real examples of trailblazing brands and apply the same principles to your brand identity.

1.4.1 Your product story 

A great formula isn’t the only thing a product needs to succeed. We take you step-by-step through the process of creating a captivating product story to showcasing its unique selling proposition (USP) and attracting a loyal following.

1.5 Your skincare line

How many products should you include in your skincare line? It is far less than you might think! What is a ‘star’ or ‘hero product and why do you need one? Start to design your skincare line with confidence.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 2: Skincare Product Design Process

Follow our step-by-step design process to formulate products and select ingredients to achieve the result you or your customers desire. Learn the steps required to take a product from concept through to a final product that is ready for sale.

2.1 Your ideal customers 

Avoid one of the biggest mistakes made by founders by getting to know who you want to sell your products to first and then create something that meets their needs. This is the secret to designing a product customers need, want, love and will buy again and again.

2.2 The six-step ‘must-have’ product design process 

Learn how to create skincare to address specific needs and concerns. Our signature six-step ‘must-have’ product design process shows you how to provide the skincare solutions you (or your customers) need and want!

2.3 Product concept to final formula 

We start by exploring the seven key aspects to a great performing formula. Then we take you step-by-step through the process of creating a product concept and turning it into reality. Discover our 12-step process to perfecting your formula.

BONUS: Formulate a Facial Oil Challenge

Start your formulating journey by following our six-part formulation challenge!

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 3: Creating Professional Cosmetic Formulations

Develop a product concept using a product development brief and a benchmark, write a formula in the correct manner, evaluate your product’s sensory characteristics and submit your product for the appropriate lab tests.

3.1 Cosmetics: definitions, categories and regulations

Before you start to formulate skincare products you will need to ensure your products fit the definition of a cosmetic rather than a drug (the line is easy to cross!). 

3.2 Types of cosmetic formula

Learn the three main types of cosmetic formula that we’ll cover in this course and the facts about each. You will 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 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.

3.3.1 Percentages in more detail

In this lesson we take a closer look at percentages. This is an optional lesson for students who are unfamiliar with percentages or who would like to understand more about them. You will learn what a percentage is and how to convert a percentage into a fraction or decimal.

3.3.2 Turning a recipe into a formula

We show you how to convert recipes into a professional and standardized formula.

3.4 Using a product development brief

A product development brief is a secret weapon to designing skincare products that have your desired characteristics and that work! We provide a useful template and describe how to use it to achieve your skincare goals.

3.5 Using a benchmark

Discover how to use a product on the market to create similar characteristics in your own product. Learn what “reverse formulating” is and how to decipher a product label or ingredient list to create your own similar product.

3.6 Sensory product evaluation 


Evaluate the sensorial properties of your products and make any necessary adjustments to perfect your formula. Our product evaluation template makes this easy!

3.7 Cosmetic product testing 

Ensuring your products are safe protects both you and your customers. It is also a legal requirement in many countries. Learn about various types of testing, including preservative efficacy testing (PET) also known as microbiological or challenge testing, stability and compatibility testing, Cosmetic Product Safety Reports (CPSRs) and more. Plus discover some ways you can ‘pre-test’ your products at home for microbiological and stability issues.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 4: Skin Anatomy and Physiology: Formulating for Different Skin Types

Apply knowledge of how the skin functions, the physiological changes that occur as the skin ages, common characteristics of different skin types, tones and concerns to formulate products suited for oily, sensitive, dry, combination and aging skin and to address concerns such as hyperpigmentation.

4.1 The function and structure of the skin

Learn the seven main functions of the skin, then we take you layer-by-layer through the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layer learning about the main responsibilities of each. We explore the epidermis in detail, following the production of skin cells from creation to shedding away.

4.2 Skin barrier

A disrupted skin barrier can cause dry patches and flakiness, plus the skin can feel sensitive or inflamed. Discover the significance of the skin barrier and how to keep it in optimum condition.

4.3 Moisturizing the skin: water, humectants, emollients and occlusives

Learn how to effectively moisturize the skin, and the benefits and limitations of anhydrous products and emulsions.

4.4 The acid mantle

An important role of the acid mantle is to maintain the skin’s pH balance, which helps maintain skin 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 Formulating for different skin types and concerns

We take a close look at different skin types (including mature, oily/acne prone, dry, sensitive and normal), the characteristics of these skin types and which ingredients are beneficial. We provide you with a guide for each skin type, which will be invaluable when you start formulating!

We also explore the role of cosmetics and drugs in the treatment of skin conditions including acne, eczema/dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis and rosacea.

4.7 Formulating for the eye contour and lips

We share the factors to consider when formulating for the eye contour, how the skin on our lips is different to the skin on our face and what lips need to stay in optimum condition.

4.8 A skincare routine

A skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated but it is the key to radiant skin! Follow our simple facial and body care routines and learn about occasional skincare treatments.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 5: Cosmetic Ingredients and Raw Materials

Select ingredients and cosmetic raw materials appropriate for your formula with confidence by applying your knowledge of the functions, properties and benefits of a wide range of ingredients. This module is a vast library of reliable and accurate information you will refer to again and again!

5.1 Classification of ingredients/raw materials

Ingredients fall into different categories and it is important to understand which category they belong to so you can formulate with them effectively.

5.2 Compatibility of ingredients/raw materials 

How do you know which ingredients are compatible with one another? Discover six properties of ingredients that affect their compatibility.

5.3 Ingredients and functions: an overview

This lesson will provide an overview of the ingredients covered in this module and indicates within which lesson you can find further information.

5.4 Researching ingredients/raw materials

With so much unreliable or incorrect information online and in books, how do you know where to find accurate and reliable information about ingredients? We share our top recommendations with you. 

5.5 Lipids

Lipids are a key ingredient in natural skincare products; they soften the skin, help the skin retain its moisture and support the skin’s barrier function. Discover the functions and benefits of lipids, how they are extracted and processed, and about comedogenicity. 

5.5.1 Composition of lipids

Discover the chemistry of lipids, and take a deep-dive into fatty acids, unsaponifiables and vitamins.

5.5.2 Carrier oils

Carrier oils offer different benefits to the skin and contribute different properties and qualities to your skincare products depending on their composition. Discover 35 carrier oils in detail.

5.5.3 Esters

Esters are a special kind of emollient with a light, silky skin feel that are an ideal replacement to silicones. Discover natural ester options to use in your formulations.

5.5.4 Butters

Butters are rich and creamy and a delightful addition to cosmetics! Learn about a range of butters, including some exotic options.

5.5.5 Waxes

Waxes play a number of important roles in cosmetics. Discover both vegan and non-vegan options including a detailed comparison guide. 

5.5.6 How to select lipids for your formulations

With so many lipids to choose from, how do you select which to use? We share nine key factors to consider.

5.5.7 Getting to know your lipids

Lipids need to be experienced first-hand to be understood properly. Our useful worksheet will take you through the process of getting to know your lipids.

5.6 Humectants

Humectants are ingredients that attract water from the atmosphere to the skin and bind it there. Humectants work with emollients and occlusives to keep skin moisture at optimal levels. Discover seven natural humectants and how to use them. 

5.7 Clays, powders, salt and exfoliants

A variety of dry raw materials are useful in cosmetics and they have a number of different functions such as absorbing oil, exfoliating, and adding color and visual appeal.

5.8 Active ingredients

Active ingredients are high-performance ingredients that offer a special benefit to the skin. 

5.8.1 Antioxidants

Antioxidants have two main functions: to extend the shelf-life of cosmetics and to provide benefits to the skin. Learn about a variety of natural antioxidants.

5.8.2 Vitamins

Learn about three vitamins that are a very beneficial addition to skincare products: Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Pro-vitamin B5 (Panthenol) and Vitamin E. Discover their benefits and how to successfully incorporate them into your formulations.

5.8.3 Botanical extracts

Botanical extracts are a vast category of ingredient! Learn about all the different ways they can be extracted and the types of formula you can use them in. Then we look at 21 botanical extracts in detail. 

5.9 Essential oils, hydrosols and fragrances

Learn about fragrancing cosmetic products and key considerations when using essential oils, such as how they work, how much to use, how to use them safely and phototoxicity. 

5.9.1 Essential oil quick reference chart

A handy reference chart to use when formulating.

5.9.2 Essential oil profiles

Essential oils have many benefits for the skin such as being antiseptic, astringent or anti-inflammatory and also provide a wonderful fragrance to cosmetics. We provide 24 detailed essential oil profiles. 

5.9.3 Getting to know your essential oils

We share our well-loved method for really getting to know your essential oils.

5.9.4 How to choose and blend essential oils

Use our helpful tips to create synergistic essential oil blends.

5.9.5 International Fragrance Association (IFRA) guidelines and calculating allergen levels

A step-by-step guide to calculating essential oil allergen levels and when to include allergens on your label.

5.10 Functional ingredients

Functional ingredients make a product work. They have a specific function or deliver a certain benefit. 

5.10.1 Natural emulsifiers for creams and lotions

Emulsifiers are a key functional ingredient in cosmetics. Learn about what emulsifiers are, how they work and why they are used in cosmetics. Discover 13 natural emulsifiers for making creams and lotions, including palm oil-free emulsifiers. 

5.10.2 Emulsifiers for self-emulsifying oils and oleogels

Create innovative oil-to-milk and gel-to-milk cleansers, scrubs and bath and shower oils with special self-emulsifying emulsifiers. Discover exciting new ingredients and how to use them.

5.10.3 Thickeners

Discover a variety of natural oil and water phase thickeners for viscosity modification. Create gels, thicken formulas and improve emulsion stability. 

5.10.4 Solubilizers

Solubilizers are required to add oil soluble ingredients such as essential oils into a water-based product, like facial toner, body spritzer or gel. Learn about several natural solubilizer options.

5.10.5 pH adjusters

Testing and adjusting the pH of cosmetics is a crucial step! Discover how to choose an appropriate pH adjustment solution.

5.11 Natural colorants

We explore a variety of ways of coloring your skincare products from using mineral pigments and micas to using the natural color present in a variety of oils and extracts. 

5.12 Organizing and storing materials in your lab

Crucial to good manufacturing practice is organizing and storing raw materials properly. Use our useful incoming ingredient (raw material) log to help you.

5.13 Substituting ingredients

If you cannot find a certain ingredient what do you do? We give you a six-step process to finding suitable substitutes.

5.14 Supplier list: cosmetic ingredients and equipment

A list of hundreds of cosmetic ingredient suppliers from all around the world! Plus a shortlist of our favorite in each region.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 6: Lab Skills, Equipment and Packaging

Set up a home lab with the appropriate equipment, adhere to good manufacturing practice, carry out key production process techniques and make different sized batches.

6.1 Equipment for your home lab

Learn about the equipment you need to set up your own small-scale lab at home, with plenty of recommendations for items such as weighing scales and immersion blenders.

6.2 Professional lab equipment

Learn about five pieces of professional laboratory equipment that are useful for home formulators who are serious about formulating or who manufacture products for sale. We compare magnetic stirrers, overhead stirrers and homogenizers so you understand the difference and which, in our opinion, are worth investing in (and which are not).

6.3 Scaling up and manufacturing equipment

Discover the equipment used in professional manufacturing settings and about the scaling-up process: how to take a product you have formulated at home into a manufacturing setting.

6.4 Good manufacturing practice

GMP is essential for producing high-quality products and is a fundamental requirement if you sell your products. Our handy checklist, calibration records and manufacturing log will ensure that you have easy-to-follow guidelines and records in place.

​6.5 Lab techniques and skills

Develop the key skills you need for making your products: weighing, heating, calibrating, sanitizing, mixing, homogenizing, filling and calibrating. 

​6.6 Testing pH

We get many questions on this topic so we have provided a thorough and detailed lesson, including video demonstrations, that explain what pH is, why and when to measure pH, how to measure pH and how to work with and look after a pH meter.

​6.7 Adjusting pH

Learn step-by-step how to create pH adjustment solutions, how to adjust pH, calculating the amount of solid/pure pH adjuster used and rewriting your formula to include the pH adjuster.

6.8 Calculating batch sizes

Students often come to us really confused about formulation math! We help you to become confident working in percentages and calculating weight-based measurements for different batch sizes. We even provide a handy batch calculator to make it really easy!

​6.9 Cosmetic packaging

Learn about the purpose of cosmetic packaging, packaging types, materials and closures, how to clean and sanitize packaging, plus the nine factors to consider when choosing packaging.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 7: Preserving Skincare Products Naturally

Cosmetic preservative is such an important topic that we have dedicated a whole module to it. 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

Microbes can cause product degradation and harm consumers. Educate yourself about the microbes that affect cosmetics, the conditions under which they grow and how they enter cosmetic products, so you can protect your products, your customers and yourself.

7.2 Strategies for prolonging shelf-life

We explain how shelf-life is determined and give you eight strategies for extending the shelf-life of your cosmetics (using preservatives is only one) so you can ensure the highest quality and longest shelf-life of your products.

7.3 Natural preservatives

We have hand picked our favorite nine COSMOS-approved broad-spectrum preservative blends that are reliable and easy to use. Discover the factors that impact the effectiveness of your preservative, both how to optimize the effectiveness of a preservative and problem ingredients that should be avoided. 

7.3.1 Preservative ingredients

If you are interested in understanding more about the components of the different preservative blends that we cover in lesson 7.3, this lesson is for you!

7.4 Creating a preservative system

A broad-spectrum preservative blend is not always enough to provide adequate protection or to withstand challenge/preservative efficacy testing. Learn our system for combining preservatives and chelators to create a robust broad-spectrum preservative system.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 8: Formulating Oils, Oil-based Serums and Self-emulsifying Oils

Formulate and make a range of anhydrous oils, oil-based serums and self-emulsifying oils for the face, bath and body.

8.1 Introduction to formulating oils, oil-based serums and self-emulsifying oils

Learn the fundamentals of these product types including their similarities and differences, suitable ingredients, how to choose oils, product shelf-life and how to evaluate your formula.

8.2 Formulating body and massage oils

Learn to formulate dry oil body spritzes, body oils and massage oils for soft, supple skin. Discover what they are, how they are different from each other, ingredients to use and how to formulate them. Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own!

Five example formulas are provided, including Moringa Dry Oil Body Spritz and Coconut and Lime Body Oil.

8.3 Formulating facial oils and serums

Facial oils and oil-based serums can deliver a range of benefits including regenerating, nourishing, balancing, calming, soothing and antioxidant. Learn how to choose oils for different skin types and purposes and which botanical extracts, vitamins and antioxidants to use. Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own!

Four example formulas are provided, including Soothing Facial Serum for Sensitive Skin and Antioxidant Facial Serum with Coenzyme Q10.

8.4 Formulating bath and shower oils

New generation bath and shower oils use self-emulsifying emulsifiers to create oil-to-milk products that are applied as an oil and magically turn to milk when they come into contact with water! We explain which emulsifiers are suited to this purpose (including some brand new to the market) and how to formulate your own, step-by-step. 

Three example formulas are provided, including Lime and Sweet Orange Shower Oil and Lavender and Bergamot Bath Oil.

8.5 Formulating cleansing oils, oil-to-milk cleansers and cleansing gels

Cleansing oils are hugely popular as they effectively cleanse the skin and leave it soft and nourished! In this lesson you will learn to formulate a traditional cleansing oil, cutting edge oil-to-milk cleansing oils and cleansing gels using a range of innovative emulsifiers. Use our helpful formulation guides and templates to formulate your own!

Seven example formulas are provided including Grapefruit Cleansing Oil, Pomegranate Cleansing Gel and Frankincense Cleansing Melt.

8.6 Troubleshooting oils, oil-based serums and self-emulsifying oils

A helpful troubleshooting guide is provided to help you avoid running into difficulties and to fix any issues that may arise when formulating and manufacturing these product types.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 9: Formulating Butters and Balms

Formulate and make a range of gorgeous anhydrous, preservative-free balms and butters, including whipped body butters, lip balms, facial and body balms and salves, oleogels and cleansing balms.

9.1 Introduction to formulating anhydrous butters and balms

Learn the fundamentals of these product types including their similarities and differences, suitable ingredients, how to choose oils, butters and waxes, product shelf-life and how to evaluate your formula.

9.2 Formulating whipped body butters

Whip exotic butters into beautifully moisturizing body butters (no preservatives required!). 

Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own!

Four example formulas are provided, including Whipped Body Butter with Babassu Oil and Illipe Butter and Sweet Orange and Kokum Whipped Body Butter.

9.3 Formulating balms and salves

From simple salves to protective lip balms, multi-purpose beauty balms to emulsifying cleansing balms and oleogels (oil-based gels); this lesson is full of inspiration and guidance for taking balm-style formulations to the next level!

Nine example formulas are provided, including Vegan Calendula Salve, Wild Rose Beauty Balm, Illipe and Murumuru Lip Balm, Sweet Almond Moisturising Gel-balm and Coconut, Illipe and Green Tea Cleansing Balm.

9.4 Troubleshooting balms and butters

How do you make less oily feeling butters? How do you increase their melting point? How do you stop them going grainy? We cover all this and more in our troubleshooting guide.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 10: Formulating Spa-style Soaks, Scrubs and Polishes

Formulate and make a range of indulgent soaks, scrubs and polishes just like you would find in a high-end spa!

10.1 Formulating spa-style soaks

Learn to formulate a range of soaks including bath soaks, and hand and foot soaks, for soothing, relaxing, invigorating or reviving the mind, body and senses! Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own.

Three example formulas are provided, including Relaxing Rose and Milk Bath Soak and Invigorating Peppermint Foot Soak.

10.2 Formulating exfoliating scrubs and polishes

Formulate professional quality facial and body polishes with emulsifiers that rinse off easily from the skin. We also teach you how to formulate a lip scrub for beautiful soft lips!

Five example formulas are provided, including Peach and Poppy Seed Body Scrub, Vanilla and Shea Sugar Scrub and Softening Lip Scrub. 

10.3 Troubleshooting soaks, scrubs and polishes

Feel confident to troubleshoot any issues that may arise with our troubleshooting guide.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 11: Formulating Toners, Spritzers, Mists and Gels

Formulate and make a range of refreshing toners, spritzers and mists using delicate hydrosols and botanicals. Create hydrating gels for the face and body with powerful humectants.

11.1 Introduction to formulating toners, spritzers, mists and gels

Learn the fundamentals of formulating these types of aqueous products, including suitable ingredients.

11.1.1 Three natural solubilizers: Experiment and report

This in-depth report will show you how to work with various natural solubilizers (and which are most effective).

11.2 Formulating toners, spritzers and mists

Explore water soluble extracts, vitamins and humectants for supercharging your toners, spritzers and mists, plus how to use natural solubilizers to incorporate essential oils.

Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own.

Four example formulas are provided, including Juniper Berry and Lemon Toner, Green Tea Toner for Oily Skin and Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Toner.

11.3 Formulating gels

Discover different natural thickeners for creating gels and how to make gels with a range of functions including hydrating, soothing and helping with hyperpigmentation.

Four example formulas are provided, including Licorice and Niacinamide Gel for hyperpigmentation and Oil-free Moisturizing Gel.

11.4 Troubleshooting toners, spritzers, mists and gels

Feel confident to troubleshoot any issues that may arise with our troubleshooting guide.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 12: The Science of Emulsification

Comprehend the science of emulsification, describe the structure of an emulsion formula and apply your understanding of emulsification to successfully create emulsions and solve stability issues.

12.1 What is an emulsion?

Creams and lotions are examples of emulsions and in this lesson you will 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 the three types of emulsification needed to form a successful emulsion.

12.2 The science of emulsification

In this more advanced lesson we 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 learn the three phases of an emulsion and how these are written in your formula, the three stages of making an emulsion (heating, mixing and cooling) and three factors in the manufacturing process that can affect your emulsion characteristics.

12.3.1 Variations in emulsion manufacturing method

There are some possible variations in the manufacturing process which we explore in this lesson

12.4 How to choose your emulsifier

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. 

12.5 Rheology, viscosity modification and emulsion stability

Learn how to modify the rheology and viscosity of your creams and lotions using different categories of rheology modifiers and how this contributes to emulsion stability.

12.6 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 four causes of emulsion instability (creaming, sedimentation, flocculation, coalescence) and how to solve them.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

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 break down a formula into all its components and discuss the function of each main ingredient so you will feel confident putting your own formulation together.

13.2 Formulating creams and lotions for the face and body

Learn to formulate a wide range of beautiful body care products from light sprayable body milks, to softening lotions and rich, thick body butters. Follow our formulation guides and templates to formulate your own!

Three example formulas are provided including Summer Sweet Sprayable Body Milk, Rose and Macadamia Body Lotion and Coconut and Shea Body Butter.

Then create beautiful facial moisturizers for all skin types, from light oil-free lotions to nourishing creams, with a range of rejuvenating and regenerating ingredients. 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 for different skin types. Watch a video demonstration so you know how to make your own, step-by-step.

Six example formulas are provided including Frankincense Face Cream for Mature Skin with Coenzyme Q10, Facial Lotion with Licorice and Niacinamide and Eye Cream with Caffeine and Ceramide Complex.

13.3 Formulating cleansing and exfoliating 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 guidelines are provided.

We include two formulations for a Soothing Cleansing Lotion for Sensitive Skin and Olive Facial Exfoliating Lotion. 

13.4 Troubleshooting creams and lotions

Feel confident to troubleshoot any issues that may arise with our troubleshooting guide.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Module 14 Cosmetic Regulations and Business Essentials

Comply with cosmetic, labeling and claims regulations.

14.1 Introduction to selling your products legally

This lesson we cover seven important steps to take before you sell your products.

14.2 Creating a Product Information File (PIF)

A product information file is a very important document that contains all the essential information about a product formula. In many countries it is a requirement to create one for each product you sell. Our PIF template will make it easier for you to keep the necessary records.

14.3 Cosmetic regulations

If you wish to sell your products it is essential that you comply with the relevant cosmetic regulations. In this lesson we provide lots of helpful information so you will know the regulations to comply with and what you need to do. We include the regulations in the USA, Canada, EU, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

14.4 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.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Take a look inside the course

Bonus Classes!

With every enrollment you will also receive 3 bonuses!

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Formulating with AHAs and BHAs

AHAs and BHAs are a must-have in your skincare routine. In our detailed guide you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of formulating with AHAs and BHAs including their exfoliating, humectant, anti-aging and anti-acne functions. 
  • How to formulate safely and effectively with lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, salicylic acid, Fruit Acid Complex and willow bark extract. 

You’ll receive formulation examples for a Cherry Radiance Mask, Superfruit Toner for Blemished Skin, Peppermint Foot Cream and Regenerating Night Cream.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Digital Copy of the International Bestselling Book A-Z of Natural Cosmetic Formulation 

We recently published the definitive beginners’ guide to the essential terminology, theories and ingredient types needed to formulate professional cosmetic products. This book:

  • Is an invaluable reference guide and useful companion to our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.
  • Provides you with explanations of the essential terminology, theories and ingredient types required to create natural, safe and stable cosmetic formulations.
  • Dispels common myths and answers the most frequently asked formulating questions.
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Formulating Face and Body Washes with Natural Surfactants

Discover a selection of natural surfactants that are used to create foaming products. In this class you’ll learn to formulate two popular types of surfactant-based products: face washes and body washes. This bonus includes:

  • An introduction to the science of surfactants.
  • A selection of gentle, natural surfactants choices (so you can avoid harsh surfactants such as SLS).
  • How to formulate face and body washes that are both mild and effective
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Guide to Formulating Vegan Cosmetics

The demand for vegan cosmetics is huge! Globally, there has been a 175% increase in vegan cosmetics launches over the past five years. Our guide will explain:

  • What vegan cosmetics are.
  • How to make cosmetics that are both natural and vegan.
  • Which ingredients to avoid (and what to use instead).

It also includes ready-to-use formulas for a range of vegan skincare products including lip balm, lip stick, face mask and bath soak.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Guide to Formulating with Hemp and CBD

There is enormous demand for CBD cosmetics and the CBD beauty market is predicted to be worth US$959 million by 2024. In this must-read guide you’ll learn:

  • The differences between hemp and CBD.
  • The benefits of formulating with CBD and hemp.
  • How to formulate with CBD and hemp.

Plus you’ll receive a variety of example formulations including Soothing Facial Oil, CBD Blemish Cream and Hemp Relief Lotion.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Formulating Advanced Natural Deodorants

  • Learn about advanced active ingredients in deodorants and how to formulate with them.
  • Formulate a range of deodorant types including deodorant sticks, balms, roll-ons and sprays.
  • Receive a variety of ready-to-use formulas including Floral Roll-on Deodorant, Herbal Fresh Spray Deodorant and Sweet Orange Deodorant Stick.
  • Move beyond baking soda deodorant and create more professional and effective deodorants.
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Bath Treats eKit

The Bath Treats eKit is a complete guide to making your own beautiful bath products!

It includes:

  • 25 wonderful recipes for bath melts, bath bombs, bath creamers and truffles, fizzing fairy dust and aromatic bath soaks, including some that are more advanced recipes featuring natural emulsifiers and surfactants.
  • A beautifully designed eBook.
  • Information on eight essential oils to create relaxing, harmonizing and uplifting bath blends: bergamot, geranium, lavender, mandarin, frankincense, eucalyptus, benzoin and ylang ylang.
  • Health and safety information and essential oil contraindications.
Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Natural Skincare Recipes for Mother and Baby

Discover three formulations for simple, effective and safe products for babies and one formulation for pregnant women.

  • The recipes provided can be adapted to be fragrance free
  • The formulations include all the essentials required to look after your skin during pregnancy and baby’s early stages: a baby bump butter, nappy balm, baby oil and baby powder.

Join the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation!

Enrolling now!

Yes, I’m ready to become a skincare formulator

The enrollment fee is rising to US $997 so save $300 when you enroll by 10th November 2020.

Save $200 and get 3 bonus classes FREE when you enroll onto our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.
Offer Ends May 4th.


Enroll now for one simple price of

US$ 997
  • PLUS 3 Bonus classes FREE.
  • A-Z Natural Cosmetic Formulation Digital Book
  • Formulating Face and Body Washes with Natural Surfactants
  • Formulating with AHAs and BHAs

Enroll now for six monthly installments of

US$ 197 /month
  • PLUS 3 Bonus classes FREE.
  • Check the price in different currencies on xe.com.
  • Choosing the payment plan option means that you will receive the course content on a "drip schedule". This means that new content is released each time you make a monthly payment. A full breakdown of the release schedule can be found in the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

Or join the Natural Haircare and Skincare Formulator Program!

The program includes our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation and Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation.

Save US $497 when you enroll on both courses together plus get 9 additional bonus classes for free:

  1. Formulating with AHAs and BHAs 
  2. Digital Copy of the International Bestselling Book A-Z of Natural Cosmetic Formulation 
  3. Formulating Face and Body Washes with Natural Surfactants
  4. Guide to Formulating Vegan Cosmetics
  5. Guide to Formulating with Hemp and CBD
  6. Formulating Advanced Natural Deodorants
  7. Men’s Facial Hair Products
  8. Children’s Haircare Products
  9. Formulating party-ready hair products – naturally!

The full details of the program can be found here.

Yes, I want to enroll on the program!

Option 1: Monthly enrollment fee of US $157 a month for 12 months

US$ 157 /month
  • Our lowest monthly payment plan.
  • Gain access to new course materials each month for 12 months.

Option 2: One single enrollment fee of $1,497

US$ 1,497
  • Save $387 compared to the monthly plan or $497 compared to enrolling on the courses separately.
  • Access course materials and bonuses immediately after enrollment (subject to Skincare Diploma release schedule).

We accept all major debit and credit cards and Paypal

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

By joining the course you accept our terms and conditions found here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation is accredited by the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Certification Service. You can read more about our accreditations here: https://www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/accreditations-and-memberships/

Yes! The course is a fully online training program hosted inside an easy to use online classroom. It is designed to be taken from home from anywhere in the world. 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 cosmetic regulations in many countries around the world, too. We have students in over 130 countries so you’ll be joining a thriving community of global students!

We are an international school with students worldwide. US dollars are the most widely recognized and accepted currency. You can check the exchange rate for your local currency using exchange rate sites such as xe.com. Either your bank or PayPal will exchange the enrollment fee into your local currency when you join.

At the end of the course there are several assignments for you to complete and submit to us to be marked. On successful completion, your end-of-course completion certificate will be issued and you will be the proud holder of our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation!

You have access to the course within the online classroom for 18 months, so plenty of time to study. You can download much of the course material to keep for longer than that, plus you have the option to renew your access for a small fee.

The course is a self-study, self-paced course so you can study at a time that suits you and complete the course as quickly or slowly as you wish. The lessons are available for you at any time.

Please note: for the release of the Third Edition of the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation the first Module is being released on 26th October 2020 and each week you’ll receive access to a new part of the course. The final Module will be released on 8th February 2021. The release schedule is available in the last FAQ.

Yes you can certainly take the Diploma class as a beginner. In fact it will ensure that you learn the correct way to design and create products right from the start so it is a great way to begin your journey with formulating skincare products!

It’s important to us that you feel supported during your studies with us and several avenues of assistance are available to you.

  1. Technical/administrative help

Our customer service team is on hand if you require help with technical or administrative matters.

  1. Tutor support

To provide you with the best support, we have experienced, professional cosmetic scientists on hand to answer your questions. To ensure we answer your questions efficiently and effectively, we invite questions from students on specific days of the week in our allocated Tutor Q&A forums, hosted within our online classroom. The Tutor Q&As for the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation take place on Sundays and Wednesdays.

  1. Peer support

The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation has its own private support group (hosted on Facebook) where you can meet and spend time with your student peers. We have students and graduates in the group from all over the world! You can ask questions, discuss formulations and feel part of a community as you progress through your studies.

  1. Feedback on assignments

At the end of your course you will submit assignments to us that will be marked by one of our professional formulators. You will receive helpful feedback on your assignments, including any corrections that need to be made, so you can feel confident in the quality of your formulations. 

  1. Promotion of your beauty brand

If you already have a beauty brand or you establish a new brand after your studies, we can help you by promoting your brand to our vast, international audience! You’ll be invited to take part in an interview and have a feature written about you and your brand which we will share with hundreds of thousands of our followers, by email and across social media. This is the perfect opportunity to start marketing your business and gain your own following.

It typically takes students 70-150 hours to complete the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation. The amount of time it will take you will depend on how much practical formulating you choose to do, so you may wish to spend more or less time than this. Most students complete the course within six to 12 months. As it is a self-paced course, you can complete it at a speed that suits your schedule. 

A variety of formats are used including comprehensive and beautifully designed course textbooks (provided as PDFs), workbooks and worksheets, video lessons, video demonstrations, quizzes and activities.

To get started you can use some basic kitchen equipment that you use solely for the purpose of cosmetic making. Here is a list of the equipment that you should consider using:

  • Protective clothing.
  • A bain-marie or water bath for a source of heat.
  • Pyrex bowls or glass lab beakers.
  • A thermometer.
  • A stick blender (immersion blender).
  • Digital scales.
  • Small beakers/weighing boats/pipettes.
  • Whisk/spoons/spatulas.
  • pH strips (or meter).
  • An electric hand whisk.
  • A heat-resistant mixing bowl.
  • Sufficient packaging.

We have a blog article and video that you may find useful on the equipment you need to get started:


We go into much more detail about the equipment you need in the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.

If you want a more professional lab setup you can purchase professional pieces of equipment which we can advise you about when you join the course. This is not necessary, however, as in many cases kitchen equipment is more than adequate.

As part of the course you receive a comprehensive global supplier list featuring hundreds of cosmetic suppliers, many of which deliver internationally.

We also have a smaller supplier list on our website you might want to look at in the meantime:


The majority of ingredients used are available in most countries around the world.  In some cases, if you wish to use specialist ingredients (such as emulsifiers and preservatives) you may need to order from overseas suppliers.

The Certificate in Making Natural Skincare Products is a short beginners course that teaches you how to make products using lovely natural ingredients following our recipes. The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation teaches you how to formulate or design your own unique products, and make them to a professional standard. The course contents are greater and more in depth and take your skills and knowledge to a more advanced level.

If your goal is to formulate products from scratch, understand in more detail the science of cosmetic formulation, use more advanced ingredients and/or sell your products, then we recommend the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.

Both courses can be taken as a beginner, so which one is right for you is more about where you want to end up than where you are starting from.

We have written an article that helps explain this further: Choosing between our skincare Certificate or Diploma – which course is right for you? https://www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/difference-between-certificate-and-diploma/

If you choose to spread the cost of your course by choosing a payment plan, you will not receive all of the course content in one go. Instead, each time we receive your monthly payment, the next installment of your course will be released, according to the following schedule.

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation Release Schedule:

Month 1 (Immediately after enrolling):  Diploma Modules 1-3, plus A-Z of Natural Cosmetic Formulation
Month 2:  Diploma Modules 4-5
Month 3:  Diploma Modules 6-8
Month 4: Diploma Modules 9-11
Month 5: Diploma Modules 12-13
Month 6: Diploma Modules 14, plus 2 bonus classes

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

Sign up now to get 3 bonus classes!

Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation

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