Introduction to Cosmetic Formulation (BETA)

A beginner's course for the budding cosmetic formulator!

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Did you ever stop to think how much thought goes into the formulation of your favorite snail cream? Or matte lipstick? Or bronze highlighter?

Or maybe you're a chemistry student trying to figure out what the hell you can do with your degree?

Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of cosmetic chemistry!

When I was in high school, I struggled to figure out what I could do with my love for skin care. I thought I wanted to be a dermatologist, but I just couldn't see myself working at a clinical or hospital setting during my internships. I felt lost. Then one day while I was browsing through Sephora checking out ingredient lists, it hit me. Who makes this stuff? Where does it come from?

Wait. I want to make this stuff!

So when I entered my undergraduate year, I booked an appointment with a counselor to figure out what steps I could take to become a cosmetic chemist.

My counselor had nothing for me.

What classes could I take to learn about cosmetic formulation? Nada. Which companies can I network with in the area to get my foot in the door? Zilch. Who can I talk to about their journey on becoming a cosmetic chemist? No one.

I was on my own.

While trying to forge my own path with the limited online resources I had, I struggled to find affordable classes I could attend as a student, let alone find time for. I wanted to learn so badly what I was getting myself into. I managed to find some classes here and there outside of my school, but they were not cheap, and I was overwhelmed with information since it spoke a lot about materials and little about how my chemistry knowledge related to on bench formulation.

When I finally was able to land an internship during my junior year, I was so lost.

I had finally attained the internship of my dreams, but if you're reading this and you have any inkling of an idea what it's like to work at a contract manufacturing company in cosmetics, they move fast.

With a little instruction from my supervisor, I was left on my own.

I remember after my first couple of days on the bench, I went on a cosmetic chemistry forum and asked, "Why do formulas have five phases?" In which the owner of the forum replied, "It depends on the type of formula you have."

I never felt so confused. I knew I had to up my learning a LOT. So I asked questions all of the time and consumed as much material as I could.

I eventually got super comfortable whipping out anything my supervisor gave me. I felt on top of it.

Until my supervisor asked me to try formulating my first sunscreen, then I froze.

I thought I was formulating. But I wasn't. I had become a mindless drone in the lab. I was a cook who actually didn't understand anything at all. I knew that Arlacel 165 was an emulsifier, but did I really know what its composition was? That it was an o/w emulsifier?

No. I didn't. And in that moment, after months of working at my internship turned job, I felt like I was back to square one.

After that, it took me a while to figure out what it really meant to formulate versus just cooking in the lab. But I got there. Eventually. Heh.

I don't want you to have to fall into the same plateau I did when I was a lab tech. I don't want you to take cosmetic chemistry classes and be completely overwhelmed like me. I don't want you to feel like cosmetic chemistry is an inaccessible thing to learn unless you shell out a crap ton of money not only to take the class, but to travel there. Cosmetic chemistry classes unfortunately are not so easy to come by unless you're in places like California or New York.

All of this boils down to why I decided to make this class. I want to accelerate your learning and get you to think from the get-go:

  • How does cosmetic chemistry relate to my chemistry classes?
  • How should I think about the ingredients in these products so I don't become a mindless chef in the kitchen with no understanding on how everything works?
  • Why do I love the feel of this moisturizer, but not this one?
  • Yes, this is argan oil. And this is Sepigel 305. But what are their chemistry?
  • Why am I using HEC to gel up my water gel, but using HPC to gel up my alcohol gel?

Who is this class for?

  • Students who want to learn more about what cosmetic chemistry entails and how it relates to their chemistry classes
  • Students who know they want to get into cosmetic chemistry, and want to take a class on it
  • Lab techs who need to readjust their thinking on how to push themselves to the next step in their career--a formulator!
  • Consumers or DIYers who want to understand the science of their makeup and skin care

Let me emphasize that this is a beginner course, and may be too easy for you if you've been in the industry for quite some time.

Get started now!

Course Curriculum

  SECTION 1: Setting the Foundation
Available in days
days after you enroll
  SECTION 2: Necessary Applications for Cosmetic Science
Available in days
days after you enroll

I have decided to create additional lectures for the beta launch! These will focus more on the building blocks of chemistry to help you connect these concepts to formulation (this curriculum is still TBD):

  • Bonus Lesson 1: Atomic Structure & the Periodic Table (available now!)
  • Bonus Lesson 2: Acids/Bases
  • Bonus Lesson 3: Polarity
  • Bonus Lesson 4: Organic Nomenclature & Structure
  • Bonus Lesson 5: Wavelengths
  • Bonus Lesson 6: Basics of Thermodynamics
  • Bonus Lesson 7: Math in Cosmetic Chemistry

During this beta stage I'll work on filming more videos, making worksheets, and creating quizzes.

After all of that is complete, the course will be fully released, in which the price will increase again.

And did I mention that if you pay for the alpha launch, you keep this course for a lifetime and receive all course updates absolutely free? After the beta launch, you'll never get to pay this price again.

Alpha Launch - $47

Beta Launch - $97 (will create a monthly payment plan)

Full Launch - $297 (will create a monthly payment plan)

So what are you waiting for? Let's get you on the path to creating the next NAKED palette!

Your Instructor


Mica Oba is a cosmetic formulator and product developer with over eight years of experience in the industry, working with major brands, retailers, and manufacturers all over the world. She has a huge passion for teaching and mentoring students on cosmetic chemistry and chemistry in general. She works part time as a chemistry tutor and mentors dozens of students all around the world on the site geekmakeupwisdom.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full conditional refund! Please note to receive your refund, you must explain specifically what about the course did not work for you so it can help us improve the course for other students. We appreciate your feedback!
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