As I reminisce about my own journey as a skin care entrepreneur, my memory takes me back to the little voice in my head that kept telling me “You can’t make skin care products. You’re not a scientist.” Even though I grew up in a home where my mom taught me that anything handmade with quality ingredients was better than anything mass produced, that voice was relentless. Sometimes I didn’t know enough because I wasn’t a scientist. Or a chemist. Other times it was because I wasn’t a doctor. Or an MBA.

I’d mix up a potion, and like how it felt on my hand, but didn’t dare apply it to my face. Once I got over that, I didn’t dare give my products to anyone else. Once I got over that, I didn’t dare ask anyone for money for my products. Each time I’d get over one self-doubting hurdle, that voice would come back with another form of “you don’t know enough to make skin care.” My metaphysics training would tell me that it was my ego trying to keep me “safe” and in my comfort zone. But honestly, I think I was just really intimidated by the cosmetics industry as a whole, and of mass production in general; of the idea that machines could get the job done better than a human.

I know I’m not the only one who worries that they don’t know enough to make skin care products.

It’s one of the main objections I get from people who email me with questions about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition. They tell me something like “I’m an aesthetician and I’ve been in practice for 15 years and I really want to offer custom skincare products to my clients. But I’m not a chemist. Or an herbalist. Or a dermatologist. So even if I take your course, I worry I won’t know enough to make skin care products that work as well as the professional products I sell.

So for the final blog post and video in our free Back to School, Back to Business series, I wanted to break down what it really takes to make skin care products and have a successful skin care business. We’ll talk about what education and qualifications you should have, and how you know if it’s good education that will actually prepare you to have a successful skin care business.

Watch Lesson 6 below:

I’ve made skin care products since I was a kid, but I didn’t start a skin care business until many years later.

Part of the reason for that was because of that self-doubting voice, but aside from that, I thought there were rules for who was allowed to make skin care products. I truly thought you had to be a chemist, or a dermatologist, or work in a lab, or have all sorts of permissions granted to you that stated that you were allowed to make skin care products. I bought into the notion that if you don’t have those qualifications, then any products you make either are not going to work, or they won’t be safe.

It is absolutely true that anyone can make skin care products.

However, as cosmetic chemists point out to me often on Instagram or when I see them at conferences, making products that are safe and that actually work does take knowledge, practice, and testing. The great news though is that these are skills that anyone can learn, regardless of what grade you got in chemistry in high school (I didn’t even TAKE chemistry in high school, by the way–I chose to learn it later in life). But to truly feel confident that you know enough to make skin care products, you have to get the knowledge.

There are two ways that you can get knowledge.

Learning to make skin care products on your own can be frustrating.

You either seek it out yourself, all on your own by reading books, practicing, Googling, etc. or you find a qualified instructor.

There’s nothing wrong with being self-taught per se–in fact, it’s largely how I got started. But what I found is that you might not always find what you’re looking for in an efficient way, and you might not learn everything you need to know to really make safe and effective products. If you go that route, you definitely will experience more trial and error than you might otherwise. It also might take you much more time to gain even a basic understanding than it needs to–but it is one option.

I’ve said many times that if I would have had an instructor who not only taught basic formulation, but also who knew how to custom formulate–meaning make products that are specific to specific people’s needs–I would have probably started my business 10 years sooner than I did. I’m a licensed aesthetician as well as a health coach and functional nutrition practitioner–my background was in working with individual people who each had bio-individual needs. It didn’t make sense for me to teach them how to customize their diets, but then tell them to just go to the store or the spa to buy skin care. I did have a small skin care product line that I formulated and had mass produced in an organic lab, but I found that I really preferred custom formulating. So that became my focus and my main expertise, though I remain connected to the cosmetic manufacturing world.

So learning becomes a matter of investing time and money into a quality course which might give you a less stressful learning experience and a faster outcome; or just spending time and money trial and error. Whichever you choose, as long as you stay the course, do the work, be thorough, and be seeking a greater understanding, you will know enough.

There is no big overseeing body that governs who is allowed to make skin care products and sell skin care products.

You don't have to be a scientist to have a skin care business

I was so relieved when I learned that! The permission to make skin care products has to come from yourself. You have to believe in yourself enough to do it. I want to remind you that the cosmetic industry and formulation chemistry has only been around for about 150 years. People made products for themselves and their communities all the time before that.

There are so many centuries of lore and wisdom that comes with working with plants, which tells us what we need to know in order to help people get their desired results. Cosmetic chemistry can be a beautiful thing, and if you are making products that contain water, you do need to know how to preserve them properly. And that’s something I teach you very, very thoroughly Create Your Skincare Professional Edition. You also need to know how to make a product stable so that it doesn’t separate.

Aside from the chemistry–and really, what cosmetic chemistry in general doesn’t do well (sorry guys, but it’s true)–the most important thing is understanding the ingredients, understanding who you’re formulating for so that the decisions you’re making are purposeful. It’s not just about what makes sense for a certain “skin type” or what will remain stable and intact inside a bottle for years. That is something that you learn both through practice with real life customers, and also through education.

So I want you to know that anytime you don’t feel confident in knowing something, it is learnable. All you need to do is invest the time into learning. And if you’re taking a course, you do have to invest the money into the course.

You also need to choose the right kind of skin care course.

It’s not just about how many recipes it teaches, or videos and downloads you get. You want to make sure it’s in a format that is compatible with the way you learn. You want to be sure it’s taught by someone who has professional experience in the subject matter not just in theory, but who has hands-on experience with real clients; in addition to the ability to teach to different learning styles.

Teaching how to make skin care products at the Rodale Institute
Me teaching one of my herbal skincare classes at the Rodale Institute in collaboration with Boiron.

I have been teaching Create Your Skincare classes for a very long time. I started teaching in person many years ago through community adult learning programs in the Philadelphia area. I did that for three years before I brought the course online. I also still teach in person for large organizations such as Boiron and the Rodale Institute, and this season, at the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. I’m also a homeschooling mom, so I am very familiar with different learning styles, and special learning needs.

I teach Create Your Skincare Professional Edition in a combination of online prerecorded videos, with weekly live classes with my students, in addition to one-on-one mentoring, student mentoring, small group coaching, plus Facebook group support. We have downloadable workbooks, we have other types of written resources available for those who learn best by reading. We have assignments and benchmarks, and rigorous final exam requirements in order to earn your certifications. So whether you’re a visual learner, or somebody who learns from hearing, reading, or doing hands-on, Create Your Skincare Professional Edition can meet your needs.

I would love to teach you everything I know about how to make skin care products.

Create Your Skincare Professional Edition

The only way to get past the fear and self-doubt of not knowing enough is to actually learn it. Join me in Create Your Skincare Professional Edition. Class starts soon. This 16-week course will seriously shorten your learning curve, and will give you an enriched hybrid learning experience that combines the convenience of online learning with the support and accountability you get from a live teacher and classroom environment.

Come on over here and get started today!

Did you miss the first five lessons of our Back to School, Back to Business series? They are available for you here:

*Studying photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

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