There are two key differences between the courses. The first is that in the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation we only include how to formulate one type of serum, which is an oil-based serum. In the Advanced Certificate in High-Performance Serum Formulation you will learn to formulate six types of serum: liquid anhydrous serums, pressed serums, gel-based (aqueous serums), emulsion-based serums, gel-cream serums and bi-phase serums. The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation covers how to formulate a much broader range of skincare products including: facial oils, body and massage oils, dry oil body sprays, bath and shower oils, cleansing oils, whipped body butters, balms and salves, soaks and scrubs, facial and body polishes, toners and spritzers, creams and lotions.

The other key difference is that the Advanced Certificate in High-Performance Serum Formulation contains detailed information on how to formulate with more advanced, active ingredients. It is our most advanced course where you will learn to formulate with a wide range of active ingredients including vitamins, antioxidants, peptides, ceramides, acids, botanical extracts and more.

Topics included in the Advanced Certificate in High-Performance Serum Formulation and not in the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation include:

  • High-performance liquid anhydrous serums. In the Diploma class we cover simpler oil-based serum formula types but in the Advanced class we take this to a whole new level. We describe the differences in this blog post: www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/face-oils-vs-face-serums/ 
  • Pressed serums. In comparison to balms, pressed serums use more luxury oils and butters, higher concentrations of active ingredients, and special waxes such as floral waxes. They can also have a softer, jelly-like consistency rather than a typical balm feel.
  • Gel based serums. We do not cover gels in the Diploma class at all. These make very light, quickly absorbed serums that can be oil-free and contain a wide range of water soluble actives.
  • Emulsion based serums. You will learn how to achieve a lightweight serum texture in an emulsion that we do not include in the Diploma class. The Diploma class includes lotions, creams and body butter emulsion types. Emulsion-based serums are different to other emulsions in that they contain a much higher amount of actives.
  • Gel-cream serums. Somewhere between a gel and a cream, gel-cream serums are light-weight and absorb quickly. They contain a large proportion of hydrating ingredients and water soluble actives (similar to a gel) but will also include emollient oils to create a very light, cream-like appearance and consistency, with an elegant skin feel.
  • Bi-phase serums. These are really fun to formulate, create and use! They are separated into two distinct phases, a water-based phase and an oil-based phase, and must be shaken before each use. If formulated to contain botanical ingredients that also add lovely color, bi-phase serums look great on a shelf!
  • A wide range of active ingredients including vitamins and their derivatives, peptides and ceramides, AHAs and BHAs, and active ingredients that are toning, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antimicrobial, skin brightening, skin barrier repairing, strengthening and offer sun protection.
  • New and sophisticated plant oils, natural esters and botanical extracts, including pracaxi oil, cacay oil, watermelon seed oil, prickly pear oil, guava oil, perilla oil, buriti oil, tamanu oil, blueberry seed oil, natural silicone replacements and more! These are not included in the Diploma class.


To read a detailed description of what is included in the Advanced Certificate in High-Performance Serum Formulation please read the course curriculum here: www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/certificate-in-natural-high-performance-serum-formulation

To find out more about the different serum types covered in the course you can read this blog article: Beyond oil-based serums: six types of serum formulation to try www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/beyond-oil-based-serums/

The two classes complement each other very well and many students take both. Our Skincare Specialist Program contains both courses (plus extra bonus classes too). This program will enable you to formulate a wide range of natural skincare products for the face and body, plus take you to a more advanced level by developing your knowledge of specialist high-performance active ingredients including vitamins, antioxidants, AHAs and BHAs, peptides and ceramides, and much more.

This program contains:

  • Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation.
  • Advanced Certificate in High-Performance Serum Formulation.
  • 7 bonus classes!


This program costs US $1,297 – saving you $297. Find out more here: www.schoolofnaturalskincare.com/online-programs/#specialist