Accredited, multi-media online course.
Study from anywhere in the world.


The Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know to formulate your own custom, high-performance shampoos and creamy, perfect conditioners. Learn from experienced and professional formulators and be supported each step along the way.



Read the full course curriculum here.


Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome!

    • Welcome from the Directors

    • Guide to using the online classroom

    • Learning objectives and outcomes

    • Course roadmap

    • How to get the most from the course: becoming a great formulator

    • Monitoring your progress: activities, quizzes, and assignments

    • Add us to your address book

    • Download: Welcome section

  • 2

    Getting support

    • Meet your tutors

    • What support is available?

    • Student communication and support guidelines

    • Requesting to join the support group

  • 3

    Useful resources

    • Ingredient list

    • Supplier list

    • Equipment list

    • Researching ingredients

    • Glossary of terms

  • 4

    Module 1: Creating professional haircare formulations

    • Introduction to Module 1

    • Module 1 Learning outcomes

    • 1.1 Cosmetics: definitions, categories and regulations

    • 1.2 Your brand values and formulating to a standard

    • Chart: Natural and organic certification bodies

    • Chart: Niche standards (Vegan, Fairtrade, Cruelty Free)

    • Download charts: Organic, Natural and Niche Certification Standards

    • Worksheet: Brand values worksheet

    • Activity: Complete the Brand Values Worksheet

    • 1.3 Types of haircare formula

    • 1.4 What is a formula?

    • Worksheet: Formulation Worksheet

    • 1.5 Perfecting your formula

    • Worksheet: Formulation Comparison Worksheet

    • 1.6 Using a product development brief

    • Worksheet: Product development brief

    • Activity: Complete a Product Development Brief

    • 1.7 Using a benchmark

    • Worksheet: Benchmark product analysis

    • Activity: Complete a Benchmark Product Analysis

    • 1.8 Sensory Evaluation

    • Example: Sensory product evaluation worksheet

    • Worksheet: Sensory product evaluation worksheet

    • Activity: Complete a Sensory Product Evaluation

    • Module 1 Textbook

    • Module 1 Audio files

    • Module 1 Quiz

  • 5

    Module 2: Hair biology and hair type

    • Introduction to Module 2

    • Module 2 Learning outcomes

    • 2.1 Anatomy

    • 2.2 Hair composition and structure

    • 2.3 Physical properties of hair

    • 2.4 Hair types and shape

    • 2.5 Hair growth cycle and loss

    • 2.6 Hair damage

    • 2.7 Caring for hair

    • 2.8 Dandruff

    • Module 2 Textbook

    • Module 2 Audio files

    • Module 2 Quiz

  • 6

    Module 3: Lab skills, equipment and packaging

    • Introduction to Module 3

    • Module 3 Learning outcomes

    • 3.1.1 Equipment: home lab/small scale

    • Equipment list

    • 3.1.2 Equipment: professional lab setting

    • 3.1.3 Equipment: scaling up and manufacturing

    • 3.2 Good manufacturing practice (GMP)

    • Template: Ingredient log

    • Download: Ingredient log

    • Activity: Start Keeping an Ingredient Log

    • 3.3 Lab techniques and skills

    • Demonstration: Sanitizing your equipment

    • 3.4 Testing and adjusting pH

    • Demonstration: Caring for and calibrating a pH meter

    • Demonstration: Measuring and adjusting pH

    • 3.5 Calculating batch sizes

    • Batch calculator

    • Worksheet: Calculating a batch

    • Activity: Calculating a batch

    • 3.6 How to choose packaging

    • Module 3 Textbook

    • Module 3 Audio files

    • Module 3 Quiz

  • 7

    Module 4: Shampoo theory and the science of surfactants

    • Introduction to Module 4

    • Module 4 Learning outcomes

    • 4.1 Shampoos: an introduction

    • 4.2 The structure of a shampoo formulation

    • 4.3 The science of surfactants

    • 4.4 Types of surfactant in haircare

    • Explanation: Surfactants for haircare chart

    • Chart: Surfactants for haircare

    • Download: Surfactants for haircare chart

    • 4.5 Calculating active matter

    • How to use the active matter calculator

    • Active matter calculator

    • Download: Active matter calculator

    • Activity: Calculating active matter

    • Answers: Calculating active matter activity

    • Module 4 Textbook

    • Module 4 Audio files

    • Module 4 Quiz

  • 8

    Module 5: Additional haircare ingredients

    • Introduction to Module 5

    • Module 5 Learning outcomes

    • 5.1 Classification of ingredients

    • 5.2 Thickeners

    • Chart: Thickeners

    • Download: Thickeners chart

    • 5.3 Conditioning ingredients

    • 5.4 Preservatives and chelators

    • Chart: Natural preservatives

    • Chart: Chelators

    • Download: Preservatives and chelators charts

    • 5.5 Pearlizers, fragrance and colorants

    • 5.6 Active ingredients: vitamins, cosmeceuticals, plant extracts

    • 5.7 pH adjusters

    • 5.8 Clays, powders and exfoliants

    • 5.9 Researching ingredients

    • BONUS: Solubilizers experiment and report

    • Surfactants and emulsifiers for haircare

    • 5.10 Buying ingredients: Ingredient starter list

    • Global supplier list

    • Activity: Researching where to buy your ingredients

    • Spreadsheet: Buying ingredients (your research)

    • Download: Buying ingredients (your research)

    • Module 5 Textbook

    • Module 5 Audio files

    • Module 5 Quiz

  • 9

    Module 6: Formulating and making shampoos

    • Introduction to Module 6

    • Module 6 Learning outcomes

    • 6.1 Formulating different types of shampoo

    • 6.2 Formulating shampoo for different hair types

    • 6.3 Formulating regular shampoo

    • Demonstration: Making regular shampoo

    • 6.4 Formulating clarifying shampoo

    • 6.5 Formulating daily use shampoo

    • 6.6 Formulating conditioning/2-in-1 shampoo

    • 6.7 Formulating anti-dandruff shampoo

    • Demonstration: Making anti-dandruff shampoo

    • 6.8 Formulating solid shampoo bars

    • 6.8.1 Formulation example: solid shampoo bars

    • Demonstration: Making solid shampoo bars

    • 6.9 Formulating your own shampoo

    • Worksheet: Liquid Shampoo Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Worksheet: Solid Shampoo Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Activity: Formulating your own shampoo

    • 6.10 Troubleshooting shampoos

    • Module 6 Textbook

    • Module 6 Audio files

    • Module 6 Quiz

  • 10

    Module 7: Conditioner theory and the science of emulsification

    • Introduction to Module 7

    • Module 7 Learning outcomes

    • 7.1 Conditioners: an introduction

    • 7.2 The structure of a conditioner formulation

    • Activity: Deciphering a conditioner INCI list

    • Answers: Deciphering a conditioner INCI list

    • 7.3 Creating emulsions

    • 7.4 Emulsifiers and polymers for haircare

    • Chart: Emulsifiers and polymers in haircare

    • Chart: Emulsifier usage rates

    • Download: Emulsifier charts

    • Module 7 Textbook

    • Module 7 Audio files

    • Module 7 Quiz

  • 11

    Module 8: Formulating and making conditioners

    • Introduction to Module 8

    • Module 8 Learning outcomes

    • 8.1 Formulating different types of conditioner

    • 8.2 Formulating conditioners for different hair types

    • 8.3 Formulating rinse-off conditioner

    • Demonstration: Making a rinse-off conditioner

    • 8.4 Formulating leave-in conditioner

    • Demonstration: Making leave-in conditioner

    • 8.5 Formulating intense conditioner

    • 8.6 Formulating detangling spray

    • Demonstration: Making detangling spray

    • 8.7 Formulating co-wash

    • 8.8 Formulating solid conditioner bars

    • 8.8.1 Formulation example: solid conditioner bar

    • Demonstration: Making a solid conditioner bar

    • 8.9 Formulating your own conditioners

    • Worksheet: Conditioner Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Worksheet: Solid Conditioner Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Activity: Formulating your own conditioner

    • 8.10 Troubleshooting conditioners

    • Module 8 Textbook

    • Module 8 Audio files

    • Module 8 Quiz

  • 12

    Module 9: Formulating and making hair treatments and styling products

    • Introduction to Module 9

    • Module 9 Learning outcomes

    • 9.1 Hair treatments and styling products: an introduction

    • 9.2 Formulating hair oil

    • 9.3 Formulating anhydrous hair mask/butter

    • Demonstration: Making a hair mask/butter

    • 9.4 Formulating hair wax

    • 9.5 Formulating anti-frizz spray

    • 9.6 Formulating dry shampoo

    • Demonstration: Making dry shampoo

    • 9.7 Formulating clay based mask

    • 9.8 Formulating Ayurvedic shampoo

    • 9.9 Formulating scalp scrub

    • Demonstration: Making scalp scrub

    • 9.10 Formulating scalp serum

    • 9.11 Formulating hair gel

    • 9.12 Formulating salt spray

    • Demonstration: Making salt spray

    • 9.13 Formulating heat protection spray

    • 9.14 Formulating your own hair treatments and styling products

    • Worksheet: Powdered Products Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Worksheet: Anhydrous Products Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Worksheet: Gel-based Products Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Worksheet: Water-based Products Product Development Brief and Formulation Worksheet

    • Activity: Formulating your own hair treatment and styling products

    • 9.15 Troubleshooting hair treatments and styling products

    • Module 9 Textbook

    • Module 9 Audio files

    • Module 9 Quiz

  • 13

    Module 10: Cosmetic regulations and product testing

    • Introduction to Module 10

    • Module 10 Learning outcomes

    • 10.1 Overview: selling your products legally

    • Activity: Start keeping a manufacturing log

    • Template: Manufacturing log/batch file

    • Download: Manufacturing log/batch file

    • 10.2 Cosmetic product testing

    • 10.3 Cosmetic regulations by country

    • Australia cosmetic regulations

    • Canada cosmetic regulations

    • EU / UK cosmetic regulations

    • India cosmetic regulations

    • New Zealand cosmetic regulations

    • South Africa cosmetic regulations

    • USA cosmetic regulations

    • 10.4 IFRA guidelines and calculating allergen levels

    • IFRA Standards

    • IFRA classes

    • Example: IFRA Conformity Certificate

    • Example: Allergen certificate

    • Module 10 Textbook

    • BONUS: Guide to organic certification

  • 14

    Feedback

    • Feedback form

  • 15

    Assignments

    • Guidelines for submitting assignments

    • Assignment 1: Classifying ingredients

    • Assignment Workbook (Assignments 2-7)

    • Submit assignments