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From The Society of Cosmetic Scientists

SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science

Ready for more advanced learning? Discover our Diploma
in Cosmetic Science course

Discover more

Course Overview

Science underpins the cosmetics and toiletries that we use every day and increasingly more people want to understand the science behind how they are made and what goes into them, as well as to understand marketing claims and ingredient labels, without digging too far into the chemistry and biology.

From the industry experts who have brought you the internationally renowned Diploma in Cosmetic Science, this introductory course is designed for people who don’t have academic qualifications in scientific subjects, such as chemistry, but who are interested in the fundamentals of cosmetic science for either their work or as a consumer.

The course is app-based and consists of five modules: skin care, hair care, colour cosmetics, oral care and nail care. Study can be whenever and wherever you want – on the train, in the garden, working out or during your lunch break, the choice is yours. It is easy to sign up and pay through the automated process and get started right away by downloading the app.

Students can choose to take just one module to fit their area of interest, or all five, it is entirely their choice. Students will receive digital certificates as they successfully progress through the modules and badges which can be used in social media and on CVs.

Course modules

  • Skin Care

    The skin care module explores the fundamentals of skin care, starting with explanations of the various layers of skin on the body, an overview of frequently used skin care products, explanations behind scientific terms used in skin care and common skin care concerns, as well as analysing skin care formulations to understand what sort of ingredients are used in products that cleanse, moisturise and protect our skin. The safety and legislation of skin care products is also considered.

  • Hair Care

    The hair care module looks at the science behind products that are used to cleanse, condition, style, colour and affect the level of curl of our hair, exploring how the structure of hair affects its properties and how different ingredients, or combinations of ingredients will modify the properties of hair. It also explores some common hair problems and how these can be alleviated, or not, with cosmetic products. The safety and legislation of hair care products is also considered, particularly those products that permanently change the appearance of the external hair.

  • Colour Cosmetics

    The colour cosmetics module describes the theory of colour, provides an overview of different colourants and how they are used in colour cosmetics. The common ingredients that are used in different product types such as foundations, lipsticks and eyeshadows are explored, along with the different regulations that are required to make colour cosmetics.

  • Nail Care

    The nail care module covers the general anatomy and physiology of the human nail, its functions and some of the common principles of formulating products for nail adornment and nail care. The ingredients used in products for nails, including lacquers and removers are discussed. Some common nail problems are described along with how cosmetic products can impact on these.

  • Oral Care

    The oral care module explores the structure and formation of teeth and the causes of common dental diseases. Cosmetic products that are used to care for the teeth, including toothpaste and mouthwash are discussed, along with safety and legislation.

Here is a screenshot of part of the Hair Care module within the SCS Cosmetic Learning app.

Who is this course for?

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Are you a student (16-18 years old) wondering what your next education step should be? Are you interested in exploring the cosmetics industry, but not sure if it will be right for you? This short course provides an option to see if you would like to study further.
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Do you have a chemistry degree but have worked in a different industry and have not used your scientific knowledge for some time? The full “Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course” will be good way to learn more about the cosmetic industry and also ease back into studying.
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Are you a hairdresser, beautician or nail artist, who uses cosmetic products professionally, but wants to learn more about how they work, with a specific focus on your area, such as hair, skin or nails? You can select a specific single module to suit.
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Are you starting, or already running an indie brand and using a third party manufacturer? This course will help you to understand more about products so you can contribute better to the NPD process.
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Are you a science graduate, working in a regulatory role in the cosmetic industry or a related field and understand the safety and regulatory aspects of products, but you want to understand why products are developed, made and tested in a particular way?
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Do you work in the cosmetic industry for a brand or raw material supplier, in sales, marketing or new product development (NPD) management and have science GCSE or A level but no science degree? Do you deal with customers on a daily basis and understand the effects of products, but want to learn more about how they work?
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Are you just starting out in the cosmetic industry in a technical role? Do you want to learn about cosmetic science but are not confident enough or qualified to A level standard yet to be able to handle the scientific content of the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science?
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Are you just interested in cosmetics and toiletries and want to learn more about the science behind them from the experts who develop and manufacture them?

Frequently Asked Questions

There are no pre-requisites for the SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course. Having science GCSE will help your understanding but is not a requirement to do the course.

The SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course is designed to explain the science behind cosmetic products.  There will be scientific terms used through the course, but these terms are all explained within the course. It is recommended that students have a minimum C/5 grade at GCSE (or equivalent) in Chemistry and Biology, or a recognised Combined Science course that includes both Chemistry and Biology. For students who do not have GCSE Chemistry, or who would like to refresh their knowledge, there is an optional GCSE Chemistry course available through the SCS Cosmetic Learning app. This is available to purchase on our Enrolment page. All course content and assessments are in English. Students who do not speak English as a first language are recommended to have an English level equivalent to passing the IELTS test with an overall mark of 6.5.

This course is available worldwide. You will need to have language skills to read and understand the course in English as it is not available in other languages. Students who do not speak English as a first language are recommended to have an English level equivalent to passing the IELTS test with an overall mark of 6.5.

The SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course is designed as an app-based learning tool for independent study. There are no lectures, assignments or exams and this means you can study at your own pace and at times that are convenient to you.

To get the app, go to Google Play or the Apple App Store and search for ‘SCS Cosmetic Learning’. The app is free to download.

The content can be accessed on multiple mobile devices using the SCS Cosmetic Learning app, online and offline, or via the web at

Yes! Log in to the SCS Cosmetic Learning mobile app on a phone or tablet to do this. In the mobile app you can download all your courses and use them offline, anytime, anywhere. Remember to connect to the internet when you can. This will synchronise your learning activity with your online account so you can carry on from where you left off.

You can request a password reset using the ‘Forgot password’ link in the app or at If this does not work, email for support.

A product code is like a licence key that adds a bundle of courses to your account. If you have one, enter it by going to the main menu and selecting Use code. If you don’t have any available courses and yet you don’t have a product code either, contact

When you complete a course, your badge and certificate will be sent to the email address on your account. If you don’t receive an email: Check that there is an email address on your account and that it’s correct. Go to the main menu and select My profile. If your email address needs adding or updating, please contact Make sure that the device on which you completed the course is online. Check your junk mail folder. If you still haven’t located your award, please contact

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The SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course is assessed in the SCS Cosmetic Learning app through progress in the app (i.e. how many activities have been completed in the course) and a number of quizzes at the end of the module. There is no exam for this course. Students can repeat the quizzes if required, and a digital certificate will be awarded when you reach the required standard for the module. Modules are all assessed separately, there is no overall assessment.

Yes, each module is purchased separately and you can do one, two or all modules. There are suggested links between modules but each module covers one aspect of cosmetic science.

There are no enrolment dates for the SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science. You have 12 months (after purchasing and activating the course) to complete each module in order to gain the digital certificate and badge. The course content will remain available on your app after this, but will not be updated after the initial 12 month period.

The SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science Course will give you a basic understanding of the science behind cosmetic products, and this can help support training you may have within your workplace. The SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science explores the science in greater depth and is suitable for students who have at least A level Chemistry or a science degree. More information on this course can be found here.

Yes! SCS Introduction to Cosmetic Science offers a great experience on both smartphones and tablets. Download the SCS Cosmetic Learning app and log in with the same details.

App-based learning allows learners to be mobile – they do not have to be in a study or at a desk, but can access the learning resources anytime, anywhere on their mobile phone or tablet, without an internet connection. App-based, mobile learning is not an extension of e-learning available on mobile devices, but a way of learning which is tailored to smartphone and tablet users.

Yes! Once you have an account, you can use the same login details across all your devices and the web. Your progress will be saved and synced across all platforms.

If you don’t see the courses that you purchased on your account, the chances are that you need to enter your product code or codes. These were sent to you by email with your purchase confirmation. To enter each code go to the main menu and select Use code. Contact if you don’t have the courses you think you should have.

If you get to the end of the course and it isn’t showing as complete, first check that you have finished all the activities. Enter the course and open the navigation menu that has a list of section titles. The green bar on the left indicates which sections you’ve finished. If the bar for a section isn’t showing in bright green, there are still activities to complete. Check for popups that don’t show as being complete. If the activities contain text boxes, check that you have written in every box. Check that you have responded to the ‘self-evaluation’ statements at the end of the section. Check that you’ve listened or watched an audio or video activity to the end. Once all the sections display a bright green bar, the course will show as complete. You may also be awarded a digital badge and certificate by email.

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