Mariaceli Gonzales grew up in the Philippines, spending her childhood watching her father manufacture haircare products from the bark of the Gugo plant. One day, after nearly two decades of successful trading, the family enterprise was forced to close down. 


Years later, Mariaceli realised it was her calling to continue her father’s legacy, and embarked upon a journey to see the business reborn. 


A new path

After months of trying different skincare and haircare courses and classes, Mariaceli felt something was still missing.

She had attended various shampoo and soap-making workshops, but was struggling to find the information she needed to source the perfect ingredients required to recreate her family’s beloved natural haircare products.

For anyone with similar issues, our recommended supplier list would certainly help and you might also like to read our article, The Hunt for High-Quality Ingredients: How to Find a Quality Cosmetic Ingredient Supplier!

She already had business experience that she knew would be vital in rebuilding her father’s company, but she lacked the knowledge of formulation to create the natural haircare products themselves. 

Turning her search online, she quickly discovered the School of Natural Skincare and decided to enroll in the Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation


“First and foremost, the school’s concept of online learning is the best platform I could have wished for. Second, are my teachers. Everything they presented was so easy to understand, and their professional experience has been so valuable to learn from.”


Since enrolling in the course, Mariaceli has not only learned to create extracts from the bark of the Gugo plant, as her father once did, but has also acquired a deeper understanding of formulation and high quality natural ingredients.

A look to the past and the future

Originally, she had hoped to recreate her father’s shampoo and conditioner recipes faithfully, but since acquiring her new-found expertise in formulation, she has been able to build upon her father’s work, incorporating her own knowledge to create products of an even higher standard than before. 

Mariaceli was delighted to find that the School of Natural Skincare allowed her to access a whole world of natural, organic ingredients that align with the Ayurvedic approach; a traditional Hindu approach to medicine, and one of the oldest medical systems in the world.


Translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “sacred knowledge of life” and is based upon the principle of universal interconnectedness. 


It aims to achieve harmony in body and mind with the aid of natural resources. 

To find out more about ayurveda in haircare, you might like to read the nice introductory article, How to Integrate Ayurvedic Principles into your Haircare Formulations.

Since acquiring the skills necessary to create new and improved natural haircare products, the family brand, Forest Herbs, has reopened, producing natural shampoos, conditioners and hair serums again for the first time in 14 years.

Mariaceli has learned to harness the power of the Gugo plant to nurture strong, healthy hair, and has even been able to drastically improve her own haircare regime, having suffered hair damage from commercial products in the past. 

Although she never would have thought it possible after watching her father’s business close in 2004, Mariacelli is now seeing her products sell out again and again, and is excited to apply her formulating skills to expanding the company’s range. 


“I’m sure I’ll enroll in even more courses with the school now that I’ve received my first diploma.” 


We caught up with Mariacelli to learn a little more about her experience giving the family business a whole new lease of life.

Q: What’s important for you in terms of the natural cosmetic products you make and use? 

What I learned from the course is how to find high quality raw materials that fit to what you want to create, and to understand the details and benefits of each material. 


This knowledge has helped me to become a trustworthy formulator.


I personally used to suffer from hair damage and there was even a time when I didn’t use any shampoo or conditioner because of the frustration of what it did to my hair. I think shampoos and conditioners should be effective, natural, organic and Ayurvedic, and this is what I aim to create in the natural cosmetic products I use and make.

Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring natural cosmetic formulators about starting to formulate natural haircare and skincare products?

They have to enroll in the School of Natural Skincare! 


It is a life changing experience.


I really learned so many things from this school. I was desperate to find a trustworthy school, and one day I stumbled across this school online. I enrolled on the course as a birthday gift to myself, and needless to say it’s been worth every penny!

Q: What do you hope to do with your new skill?

I am currently selling the shampoo, conditioner and hair serum I created. I plan to make more natural haircare products and will probably evolve to skincare as well. 

Q: What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?

I can formulate, I can mix and match ingredients that I understand, and I am confident creating natural haircare products for my company. 


I so love your school for teaching me and I will be forever grateful.


Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I grew up in a shampoo factory and one day, suddenly, it was gone. 


I knew the business but I didn’t know about formulation. 


After 14 years of losing hope in my chance to rebuild our factory, I am writing my life testimony that if you work hard and continue to pursue what you wish for, it will happen! 

What is truly inspiring about Mariaceli’s story is just how much cosmetics was ingrained in her very essence. Having been brought up in an environment where it was the very livelihood for her family clearly left its mark on year and we’re inspired by how she returned to her roots and is currently making her dream of following in her father’s footsteps a reality. We’re excited and so proud to have been part of her journey and we wish her the very best of luck.

Our Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation teaches students everything they need to know in order to establish their own brand from creating a range of professionally formulated products, to understanding how to ensure they are safe, stable and effective, to designing the essence of the brand vision, mission and values and finally, also complying with cosmetic regulations, it is all covered!

Free Natural Shampoo & Conditioner Recipe Book

Learn to make your own natural shampoos & conditioners with luxurious natural ingredients.


Download this fabulous book and discover recipes for:

  • Cocoa Butter and Patchouli Solid Shampoo Bar
  • Shea and Coconut Conditioner for Dry Hair
  • Monoi Beauty Butter for Hair
  • Vanilla and Benzoin Solid Conditioner Bar
  • Gentle Aloe and Chamomile Liquid Shampoo for normal hair

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Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.