Why Learn Natural Product Formulation?
Hi! Colleen here, founder of Herb Nerd. I created this Formula Building Blocks course because it was something I was desperately seeking for years as a self-taught natural product maker! Now you can discover in one course what it took me 10 years to compile. Jess Heliman is an amazing product developer, chemist, and earth mama that has been my product development consultant for a long time.
Together Jess and I built this course to give you the goods on developing skin care emulsions (lotions & creams) from the ground up. We explore fundamental ingredient categories in an organized fashion, with lots of visual aids. Each lesson includes a video where Jess presents the chemistry of an ingredient or ingredient category and then I ask her a million questions so that the newbie maker can digest these complex cosmetic chemistry principles.
The course is all pre-recorded, self paced, and yours forever to refer back to as you explore the natural ingredients and preservation strategies we discuss.
What is Natural Cosmetic Chemistry?
Cosmetic chemistry is the science of combining chemical ingredients to make cosmetic products.
"Natural" implies that the cosmetic formulator does not use synthetically derived chemical ingredients when creating their products. Instead, scientists design the formula using naturally occurring ingredients processed to various degrees.
What is Formulation?
Formulation is a method of invention, it is both science and artistry as you create something out of nothing, using set parameters known to create desired results. You can plug your desired ingredients, scents, and herbal extracts into data sheets of your own design; you will have the freedom to produce anything you can dream up, in your desired batch size, time and time again.
FORMULA BUILDING BLOCKS
A successful formula requires a strong foundation. In this 5-week course, you will discover critical ingredient categories that make up these formula building blocks.
JUMP TO PRICING
What are surfactants?
Surfactants are a group of chemicals that have many different functions. Most of the time when we think of surfactants we think of the foaming ingredients in our cleansers. However, surfactants can also be emulsifiers which keep the water and oil together in our creams and lotions. Let’s learn what makes them different from each other and how to choose the best ones for your formula!
What are thickeners?
Thickeners can be broken up into two different categories, gelling agents and fatty alcohols/waxes. Both of these types of thickeners can provide body to a formula but would be used in totally different ways. During this class, we will learn about both types and how to use them.
What are sensory agents?
Sensory agents are what give your product a nice skin feel. In conventional products, companies use silicones to help provide a nice feel. Many people are stepping away from those ingredients but are still looking for that feel. In this course, we’ll discuss alternatives to silicones, how to use certain ingredients to make your oil feel less oily, and the difference between emollients, humectants, and occlusives.
What are preservatives?
There has been a huge shift in how we use preservatives. We want to use safe ingredients but we still need to have safe products. Having a safe product includes having an effective preservative system. We’ll learn all about how preservatives work and how to choose the right system for your product.
Putting it all together
In the final section of this course, we will be making a gel cleanser and a lotion together! We will be using what we learned about formula building blocks to make simple products that you can customize to be your own. You will have the option to purchase an ingredient package containing what you will need to make these products with us!
Learn more about the course by watching this video:
The newest member of the Herb Nerd team, Jess Heilman is the primary instructor of this course. A formulation scientist specializing in natural and organic products, her interest in skin care began with an internship in college working in an R&D facility for topical cosmetic and over the counter (OTC) products. The science behind skin care products and the complexity of the skin intrigued her so much that she made it her career. Jess' work in-house for contract manufacturers and small brands has provided her with the skill set to create a wide range of products with a deep understanding of manufacturing. After a lot of consideration, she opened her own company, Pure Chemistry Consulting, offering her services as a formulation and manufacturing consultant.
Colleen Solis, founder of Herb Nerd, is devoted to a life defined by what she finds growing in the soil and fueled by synthesizing these organic components into accessible healing potions for humans.
In 2010, with a passion for organic skin care, Colleen made her first batch of topical products, signed up for her first herbal studies course and began her journey as a product formulator and herbalist.
Colleen is now a Certified Herbalist, instructor at The California School of Herbal Studies, contributing writer at Traditional Medicinals, founder of the beauty brand Poppy Botanicals, and natural product developer and consultant for wellness companies nationwide.
SECTION 1 | SURFACTANTS
In depth ingredients: glucosides, betaine, fatty alcohols
- What is a surfactant and how do they work?
- Cleansing surfactants
- Solubilizing surfactants
- Emulsifying surfactants
In depth ingredients: glucosides, betaine, fatty alcohols
SECTION 2 | GELLING AGENTS + THICKENERS
- Gelling agents vs. thickeners. What are they and how do they work?
- Product stabilization
- Cold process vs. hot process
- Choosing the right one
In depth ingredients: Xanthan Gum and other polysaccharides, Hyaluronic Acid, beeswax and vegan alternatives, fatty acids and alcohols
SECTION 3 | SENSORY AGENTS
- Emollients, humectants, and occlusives
- Adding slip to a product
- Creating a luxurious skin feel
- Using adsorbents to reduce oiliness
In depth ingredients: Squalane, glycerin, petrolatum replacement, silica
SECTION 4 | PRESERVATIVES
- Bacteria, yeast, and molds
- Preserving water based formulas
- Formulating to prevent microbial growth
- Preventing rancidity in oil based formulas
- Preservative efficacy testing
In depth ingredients: Geogard ECT, Leucidal Liquid, Microslides test kit
SECTION 5 | FORMULATION
- How to put together a cleanser formula
- How to put together an emulsion formula
- Let’s make them in the lab!
In this section, we will utilize the ingredient box to put together formulas based on what we’ve learned!
Essential Equipment For Your At-Home Formulation Lab
In this course, we will be teaching you all about the foundational ingredients of any successful skin care product and their percent ranges within a formula, and then we will guide you in making 2 formulas step by step: an emulsified moisturizer (lotion) and a cleansing gel.
To successfully make these natural skincare products in your home lab, you will need some essential equipment. In this video Jess will give you a tour of her at-home formulation lab. A product list with pricing and links can be found in the video description.