Course Description

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.



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


Want to know more? 

Download our prospectus here.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    The Third Edition (2020)

    • Welcome! What's new?

  • 2

    Welcome

    • 1. Welcome from the Directors

    • Guide to the online classroom

    • 2. The benefits of formulating your own skincare products

    • 3. Seven steps to becoming a confident skincare formulator

    • 4. How to get the most from the course

    • 5. Course roadmap and learning outcomes

    • 6. The products you will learn to formulate

    • 7. Monitoring your progress: activities, quizzes and assignments

    • 8. Planning your studies

    • Monthly study planner

    • Yearly study planner

    • Download: Welcome textbook

  • 3

    Getting support

    • 1. Meet the team

    • 2. Add us to your address book

    • 3. What support is available

    • Student communication and support guidelines

    • 4. Requesting to join the support group

    • How to use the student support Facebook group

    • Download: Getting Support textbook

    • Quiz

  • 4

    Useful resources

    • 1. Introduction to useful resources

    • 2. Equipment list

    • 3. Equipment checklist

    • 4. Ingredient starter list

    • 5. Ingredient shopping list

    • 6. Supplier list

    • Download: Useful resources textbook

  • 5

    Module 1: Your Values, Brand and Creating Unique Products

    • Welcome to Module 1

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 1

    • Download: Module 1 workbook

    • 1.1 Your brand values

    • 1.1 1 Spotlight: Vegan skincare

    • 1.1.2 Spotlight: Sustainable skincare

    • 1.1.3 Spotlight: Waterless skincare

    • 1.2 Defining ‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’

    • 1.2.1 Spotlight: Clean skincare

    • 1.3 Getting certified

    • 1.4 Creating a strong brand identity

    • Case study: Absolute Joi

    • 1.4.1 Your product story

    • 1.5 Your skincare line

    • Activity: Complete the Module 1 workbook

    • Student brands

    • Download: Module 1 textbook

    • Module 1 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 6

    Module 2: Skincare Product Design Process

    • Welcome to Module 2

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 2

    • Download: Module 2 workbook

    • 2.1 Your ideal customers

    • 2.2 The six-step 'Must-have' product design process

    • 2.3 Product concept to final formula

    • Download: Module 2 textbook

    • Module 2 quiz

  • 7

    Formulate a facial oil challenge

    • Introduction

    • Welcome

    • Part 1: Who are your customers?

    • Worksheet: Must-have product design process

    • Part 2: What solutions and benefits do customers want your product to provide?

    • Formulating for dry skin

    • Q&A : Oleic acid for dry skin

    • Formulating for oily and acne prone skin

    • Formulating for mature and aging skin

    • Formulating for sensitive skin

    • Part 3: What features are required to deliver those benefits/solutions?

    • Glossary

    • Part 4: Choosing ingredients

    • Part 5: Product description

    • Part 6: Introduction to creating a formula

    • Worksheet: Product formulation

    • Download: Formulate a facial oil challenge textbook

  • 8

    Module 3: Creating Professional Cosmetic Formulations

    • Welcome to Module 3

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 3

    • Download: Module 3 workbook

    • 3.1 Cosmetics: definitions, categories and regulations

    • 3.2 Types of cosmetic formula

    • 3.3 What is a formula?

    • Download: Formulation worksheet

    • 3.3.1 Percentages in more detail

    • 3.3.2 Turning a recipe into a formula

    • Activity: Turn a recipe into a formula

    • 3.4 Using a product development brief

    • Download : Product development brief worksheet

    • 3.5 Using a benchmark

    • Download: Benchmark product analysis worksheet

    • Activity: Complete a benchmark analysis

    • ​3.6 Sensory product evaluation

    • Download: Sensory product evaluation worksheet

    • Activity: Complete a sensory product evaluation

    • Download: Formulation comparison worksheet

    • 3.7 Cosmetic product testing

    • Download: Module 3 textbook

    • Module 3 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 9

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

    • Welcome to Module 4

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 4

    • Download: Module 4 workbook

    • 4.1 The function and structure of the skin

    • 4.2 The skin barrier

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

    • 4.4 The acid mantle

    • ​4.5 Skin aging

    • 4.6 Formulating for different skin types and concerns

    • 4.6.1 Formulating for mature and aging skin

    • 4.6.2 Formulating for oily/acne-prone skin

    • 4.6.3 Formulating for dry skin

    • 4.6.4 Formulating for sensitive skin

    • 4.6.5 Formulating for normal skin

    • 4.6.6 Skin conditions and concerns

    • Activity: Formulating for your skin type and concerns

    • Optional: Further reading on skin conditions/concerns

    • 4.7 Formulating for the eye contour and lips

    • 4.8 Skincare routine

    • Activity: Creating a skincare routine

    • Download: Module 4 textbook

    • Module 4 quiz

  • 10

    Module 5: Cosmetic Ingredients and Raw Materials

    • Welcome to Module 5

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 5

    • Download: Module 5 workbook

    • 5.1 Classification of ingredients/raw materials

    • 5.2 Compatibility of ingredients/raw materials

    • 5.3 Ingredients and functions: an overview

    • 5.4 Researching ingredients/raw materials

    • Activity: Download an MSDS and CoA

    • 5.4.1 Choosing a raw material supplier

    • 5.5 Lipids

    • 5.5.1 Composition of lipids

    • 5.5.2 Carrier oils

    • Activity: Choosing carrier oils for yourself

    • 5.5.3 Esters

    • 5.5.4 Butters

    • 5.5.5 Waxes (plus testing five natural waxes: experiment and report)

    • 5.5.6 How to select lipids for your formulations

    • 5.5.7 Getting to know your lipids

    • Download: Getting to know your lipids worksheet

    • Activity: Getting to know your lipids

    • 5.6 Humectants

    • 5.7 Clays, Powders, Salt and Exfoliants

    • 5.8 Active ingredients

    • 5.8.1 Antioxidants

    • 5.8.2 Vitamins

    • 5.8.3 Botanical Extracts

    • 5.9 Essential Oils, hydrosols and fragrances

    • 5.9.2 Essential oil profiles

    • 5.9.1 Essential Oils: Quick reference chart

    • 5.9.3 Getting to know your essential oils

    • Download: Getting to know your essential oils worksheet

    • Activity: Getting to know your essential oils

    • 5.9.4 How to choose and blend essential oils

    • Download: Choosing and blending essential oils worksheets

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

    • Download: IFRA standards

    • Download: Example IFRA conformity certificate and Allergen declaration

    • 5.10 Functional Ingredients

    • 5.10.1 Natural emulsifiers for creams and lotions

    • 5.10.2 Emulsifiers for self-emulsifying oils and oleogels

    • 5.10.3 Thickeners

    • 5.10.4 Solubilizers

    • 5.10.5 pH Adjusters

    • 5.11 Natural colorants

    • 5.12 Organizing and storing materials In your lab

    • Download: Incoming ingredient (raw material) log

    • Activity: Start keeping an Incoming ingredient (raw material) log

    • 5.13 Substituting ingredients

    • 5.14 Supplier list

    • Download: Module 5 textbook

    • Module 5 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 11

    Module 6: Lab Skills, Equipment and Packaging

    • Welcome to Module 6

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 6

    • Download: Module 6 workbook

    • 6.1 Equipment for your home lab

    • 6.2 Professional lab equipment

    • Activity: Set up your home lab

    • 6.3 Scaling up and manufacturing equipment

    • 6.4 Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

    • Download: Calibration records and manufacturing log worksheets

    • 6.5 Lab techniques and skills

    • Demonstration: Setting up a double boiler

    • Demonstration: Sanitizing equipment

    • 6.6 Testing pH

    • Demonstration: Caring for and calibrating a pH meter

    • Activity: Practice calibrating your pH meter

    • Demonstration: Testing and adjusting pH

    • 6.7 Adjusting pH

    • 6.8 Calculating batch sizes

    • Download: Batch calculation worksheet

    • Download: Batch calculators

    • Activity: Calculating a batch​

    • 6.9 Cosmetic packaging

    • Activity: Research packaging options

    • Download: Module 6 textbook

    • Module 6 quiz

  • 12

    Module 7: Preserving Skincare Products Naturally

    • Welcome to Module 7

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 7

    • Download: Module 7 workbook

    • 7.1 Introduction to microbiology

    • 7.2 Strategies for prolonging shelf-life

    • 7.3 Natural preservatives

    • 7.3.1 Preservative ingredients

    • 7.4 Creating a preservative system

    • Download: Module 7 textbook

    • Module 7 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 13

    Module 8: Formulating Oils, Oil-Based Serums and Self-Emulsifying Oils

    • Welcome to Module 8

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 8

    • Download: Module 8 workbook

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

    • 8.2 Formulating body and massage oils

    • Download: Product development brief - Body and massage oils

    • 8.2.1 Formulation example: Moringa Dry Oil Body Spritz

    • 8.2.2 Formulation example: Wild Rose and Geranium Dry Oil Body Spritz

    • 8.2.3 Formulation example: Coconut and Lime Body Oil

    • 8.2.4 Formulation example: Soothing and Relaxing Massage and Bath Oil

    • 8.2.5 Formulation example: Balancing and Uplifting Massage and Bath Oil

    • Activity: Formulate a body or massage oil

    • 8.3 Formulating facial oils and serums

    • Download: Product development brief - Facial oils and oil-based serums

    • 8.3.1 Formulation example: Facial Oil for Dry Skin

    • 8.3.2 Formulation example: Facial Oil for Oily Skin

    • 8.3.3 Formulation example: Soothing Facial Serum For Sensitive Skin

    • 8.3.4 Formulation example: Antioxidant Facial Serum with Coenzyme Q10

    • Demonstration: 8.3.4 Antioxidant Facial Serum with Coenzyme Q10

    • Activity: Formulate a facial oil or oil-based serum

    • 8.4 Formulating bath and shower oils

    • Download: Product development brief - Bath and shower oils

    • 8.4.1 Formulation example: Lime and Sweet Orange Shower Oil with Polyglyceryl-3 Palmitate

    • 8.4.2 Formulation example: Lavender and Bergamot Bath Oil with Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate

    • 8.4.3 Formulation example: Sweet Orange Shower and Bath Oil with Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate

    • Activity: Formulate a bath or shower oil

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

    • Download: Product development brief - Cleansing oils, oil-to-milk cleansers and cleansing gels

    • 8.5.1 Formulation example: Cleansing Oil for Sensitive Skin

    • 8.5.2 Formulation example: Grapefruit Cleansing Oil with Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate

    • Demonstration: Grapefruit Cleansing Oil with Polyglycerol-4 Oleate

    • 8.5.3 Formulation example: Pomegranate Cleansing Gel with Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate

    • 8.5.4 Formulation example: Geranium Cleansing Gel with Sucrose Stearate

    • 8.5.5 Formulation example: Fragrance-free Cleansing Gel with Sucragel AP V2

    • Demonstration: Fragrance-free cleansing gel with Sucragel AP V2

    • 8.5.6 Reverse formulation example: Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense Cleansing Melt

    • 8.5.7 Formulation example: Ylang Ylang and Sweet Almond Cleansing Balm with Sapogel Q

    • Activity: Formulate a cleansing oil, oil-to-milk cleansers or cleansing gel

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

    • Download: Module 8 textbook

    • Module 8 quiz

  • 14

    Module 9: Formulating Butters and Balms

    • Welcome to Module 9

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 9

    • Download: Module 9 workbook

    • 9.1 Introduction to formulating anhydrous butters and balms

    • Activity: Getting to know your butters

    • 9.2 Formulating anhydrous body butters

    • Download: Product development brief - Anhydrous body butters

    • 9.2.1 Formulation example: Ylang Ylang and Frankincense Bedtime Body Butter

    • Demonstration: 9.2.1 Ylang Ylang and Frankincense Bedtime Body Butter

    • 9.2.2 Formulation example: Whipped Shea Body Butter with Babassu Oil and Illipe Butter

    • 9.2.3 Formulation example: Sweet Orange and Kokum Whipped Body Butter

    • 9.2.4 Formulation example: Mango and Coconut Whipped Body Butter

    • Activity: Formulate an anhydrous body butter

    • 9.3 Formulating balms and salves

    • Download: Product development brief - Balms and salves

    • Activity: Complete a benchmark analysis for a balm

    • 9.3.1 Experiment and report: Do anhydrous cleansing balms need preservatives?

    • 9.3.2 Formulation examples: Simple Lip Balm (Four Variations)

    • 9.3.3 Formulation example: Vegan Calendula Salve

    • 9.3.4 Formulation example: Moisturizing Sea Buckthorn Balm

    • 9.3.5 Formulation example: Wild Rose Beauty Balm

    • 9.3.6 Formulation example: Illipe and Murumuru Lip Balm

    • Demonstration: Illipe and Murumuru Lip Balm

    • 9.3.7 Formulation example: Ultra Protective Lip Balm with Lanolin

    • 9.3.8 Formulation example: Lavender and Sweet Orange Massage Gel with Dermofeel Viscolid

    • 9.3.9 Formulation example: Sweet Almond Moisturising Gel-Balm with Sapogel Q

    • Demonstration: 9.3.9 Sweet Almond Moisturizing Gel-balm with Sapogel Q

    • 9.3.10 Formulation example: Frankincense Cleansing Balm

    • 9.3.11 Formulation example: Mango and Murumuru Cleansing Butter

    • 9.3.12 Formulation example: Coconut, Illipe and Green Tea Cleansing Balm with Durosoft PG4-O

    • 9.3.13 Formulation example: Chamomile Cleansing Balm with Dermofeel PP

    • Activity: Formulate a leave-on or rinse-off balm

    • 9.4 Troubleshooting butters and balms

    • Download: Module 9 textbook

    • Module 9 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 15

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

    • Welcome to Module 10

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 10

    • Download: Module 10 workbook

    • 10.1 Formulating spa-style soaks

    • Download: Product development brief - Spa-style soaks

    • 10.1.1 Formulation example: Relaxing Rose and Milk Bath Soak

    • 10.1.2 Formulation example: Invigorating Peppermint Foot Soak

    • 10.1.3 Formulation example: Sea Salt and Goat’s Milk Bath Soak

    • 10.1.4 Formulation example: Coconut Milk Bath Soak

    • Demonstration: Coconut milk bath soak

    • Activity: Formulate a bath, foot or hand soak

    • 10.2 Formulating exfoliating scrubs and polishes

    • Download: Product development brief - Scrubs and polishes

    • Activity: Getting to know exfoliants

    • 10.2.1 Experiment and report: Testing preservatives in an anhydrous Sucragel-based body scrub

    • 10.2.2 Formulation example: Grapefruit and Geranium Body Scrub

    • 10.2.3 Formulation example: Mango, Coconut and Sugar Lip Scrub

    • 10.2.4 Formulation example: Grapefruit, Orange and Calendula Facial Scrub with Sucrose Stearate

    • Demonstration: Grapefruit, Orange and Calendula Facial Scrub with Sucrose Stearate

    • 10.2.5 Formulation example: Peach and Poppy Seed Body Scrub with Sucrose Stearate

    • 10.2.6 Formulation Example: Lemongrass and Bamboo Facial Scrub with Sucragel CF

    • Demonstration: Lemongrass and Bamboo Facial Scrub with Sucragel CF

    • 10.2.7 Formulation example: Vanilla and Shea Sugar Scrub with Sucragel AOF Bio

    • 10.2.8 Formulation example: Lemon and Orange Lip Scrub with Sapogel Q

    • 10.2.9 Formulation example: Murumuru Sugar Scrub with Dermofeel PP

    • Activity: Formulate a body or facial scrub

    • Activity: Complete a sensory product evaluation for your body or facial scrub

    • 10.3 Troubleshooting spa-style soaks, scrubs and polishes

    • 10.3.1 Troubleshooting example: Lemongrass and Bamboo Facial Scrub with Sucragel CF

    • 10.3.2 Troubleshooting example: Lemon and Sugar Lip Scrub with Sapogel Q

    • Download: Module 10 textbook

    • Module 10 quiz

  • 16

    Module 11: Formulating Toners, Spritzers, Mists and Gels

    • Welcome to Module 11

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 11

    • Download: Module 11 workbook

    • 11.1 Introduction to formulating toners, spritzers, mists and gels

    • 11.1.1 Experiment and report: Three natural solubilizers

    • 11.1.2 Experiment and report: How hydrosols can challenge the performance of the preservation system

    • 11.2 Formulating toners, spritzers and mists

    • Download: Product development brief - Toners, spritzers and mists

    • 11.2.1 Formulation example: Hydrating Rose, Aloe and Cucumber Facial Mist

    • 11.2.2 Formulation example: Juniper Berry and Lemon Toner

    • Demonstration: Juniper Berry and Lemon Toner

    • 11.2.3 Formulation example: Green Tea Toner with Alcohol for Oily Skin

    • 11.2.4 Formulation example: Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Toner

    • Activity: Formulate a toner, spritzer or mist

    • 11.3 Formulating gels

    • Download: Product development brief - Gels

    • Activity: Getting to know gums

    • 11.3.1 Formulation example: Cooling Aloe After-sun Gel

    • 11.3.2 Formulation example: Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid Facial Gel

    • Demonstration: Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid Facial Gel

    • 11.3.3 Formulation example: Brightening Gel with Licorice and Niacinamide for Hyperpigmentation

    • 11.3.4 Reverse formulation example: Deep Moisture Oil-free Gel

    • Activity: Formulate a gel

    • 11.4 Troubleshooting toners, spritzers, mists and gels

    • 11.5 Laboratory test reports: Toners, spritzers, mists and gels

    • Download: Module 11 textbook

    • Module 11 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 17

    Module 12: The Science of Emulsification

    • Welcome to Module 12

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 12

    • Download: Module 12 workbook

    • 12.1 What is an emulsion?

    • 12.2 Surfactants and the science of emulsification

    • 12.2.1 Hydrophilic Lipophilic Balance (HLB)

    • 12.3 How to make an emulsion: Phases and stages in emulsion manufacture

    • 12.3.1 Variations in emulsion manufacturing method

    • 12.4 How to choose your emulsifier

    • Activity: Research an emulsifier

    • 12.5 Rheology, viscosity modification and emulsion stability

    • 12.6 Solving emulsion instability

    • Download: Module 12 textbook

    • Module 12 quiz

  • 18

    Module 13: Formulating Creams and Lotions

    • Welcome to Module 13

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 13

    • Download: Module 13 workbook

    • 13.1 Introduction to formulating creams and lotions

    • Demonstration: Simple emulsion

    • 13.1.1 Experiment and report: Testing four natural emulsifiers

    • Activity: Experiment with emulsifiers

    • 13.2 Formulating creams and lotions for the face and body

    • Download: Product development brief - Creams and lotions

    • 13.2.1 Formulating for different skin types: Lavender Facial Lotion for Normal/Oily/Dry Skin

    • Demonstration: Lavender Facial Lotion for Normal Skin

    • 13.2.2 Formulation example: Oil-free Moisturizer

    • Demonstration: Oil-free Moisturizer

    • 13.2.3 Formulation example: Facial Lotion with Licorice and Niacinamide for Hyperpigmentation

    • 13.2.4 Formulation example: Geranium and Macadamia Body Lotion

    • Demonstration: Geranium and Macadamia Body Lotion

    • 13.2.5 Formulation example: Coconut and Shea Body Butter

    • 13.2.6 Formulation example: Frankincense Face Cream for Mature Skin with Coenzyme Q10

    • 13.2.7 Formulation example: Floral Moisturizing Lotion

    • 13.2.8 Formulation example: Sweet Summer Body Milk

    • 13.2.9 Formulation example: Eye Cream with Caffeine and Ceramide Complex

    • Activity: Formulate a cream or lotion

    • Activity: Complete a sensory product evaluation for your cream or lotion

    • 13.3 Formulating cleansing and exfoliating lotions

    • 13.3.1 Formulation example: Soothing Cleansing Lotion

    • 13.3.2 Formulation example: Olive Exfoliating Lotion

    • Activity: Formulate an exfoliating lotion

    • 13.4 Troubleshooting creams and lotions

    • 13.5 Laboratory test reports: Creams and lotions

    • Download: Module 13 textbook

    • Module 13 quiz

    • Checking in

  • 19

    Module 14: Cosmetic Regulations and Business Essentials

    • Welcome to Module 14

    • Module resources and layout

    • Learning outcomes of Module 14

    • Download: Module 14 workbook

    • 14.1 Selling your products legally: An introduction

    • Download: Manufacturing log (Batch file) template

    • 14.2 Creating a Product Information File (PIF)

    • Completed example of a PIF

    • Download: Product Information File (PIF) template

    • Activity: Create a PIF for one of your products

    • 14.3 Cosmetic regulations by country

    • 14.3.1 Australia cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.2 Canada cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.3 European Union cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.4 India cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.5 New Zealand cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.6 South Africa cosmetic regulations

    • 14.3.7 UK cosmetic regulations

    • Download: Guidance from UK Office for Product Safety & Standards

    • Providers of CPSRs and cosmetic testing

    • 14.3.8 USA cosmetic regulations

    • 14.4 Cosmetic claims

    • Download: Guidance on EU 'free-from' claims

    • Download: Module 14 textbook

  • 20

    Assignments

    • Guidelines for submitting assignments

    • Assignment checklist

    • Assignment 1: Calculating a batch

    • Assignment 2: Varying a formula

    • Assignment 3: Anhydrous oil-based product formula

    • Assignment 4: Toner, mist or gel formula

    • Assignment 5: Cream or lotion formula

    • Submit assignments

  • 21

    Feedback

    • Please give your feedback

    • Feedback form