Botanical Oil Chemistry for

Successful Skincare Formulation

Lipids Decoded

Fall 2023 Cohort Starting SOON!  

With botanical oils taking over the skincare and beauty industry, new opportunities are everywhere!

And, while botanical oils might be the current darling, pushing essential oils off too the sidelines, this is far more than an trend. 

It is a movement. 

Skincare professionals, formulators, and individuals are looking for a natural, nourishing and healing approach to skincare. 

Botanical oils, or lipids as we call them in our world, give us all of this and more. 

What are they? 

Rich, nourishing, healing fatty compounds cold pressed from plant seeds and fatty fruits. 

Nature is abundant and varied and any study in the lipid oils will be just as varied and abundant.

Every plant that produces seeds can, in theory, produce a unique skincare oil. 

And people around the world are turning theory into reality by sourcing, harvesting and pressing a growing variety of seeds. 

A few new ones that have come across our research table...

Pineapple seed oil (it smells ever so slightly of pineapples!), kiwi seed oil (BENEFIT), prickly pear seed oil from the tuna fruit of the prickly pear cactus (brightening, high in vitamin E), pracaxi oil (protective and helps minimize hyperpigmentation. 

There is an increasing demand for oil only, or waterless skincare.

And that creates a rich opportunity for innovation and a chance to stand out in the skincare space. 

Whether you are building a skincare line around a single oil like argan, plum kernel or marula, or you are developing a face or body care line, working closely with botanical lipid oils is the key to creating exceptional formulas and standing apart. 

There is a growing market for thoughtfully created skincare centered around botanical lipid oils

Oil-only skincare, anhydrous skincare the name varies but the purpose is the same.

To create high-quality skincare by tapping the rich plant compounds in lipid oils.

For a long time the lipid oils were pushed into a dusty corner under the misused term ‘carrier’ oil.

And for a long time, these oils were simply used as carriers for sexy-sounding ingredients like essential oils. 

But that is changing and fast!

As people increasingly develop sensitivities to the overuse of essential oils more and more we are seeing brands advertising ‘clean’ formulas free of preservatives and essential oils.

The oils that once simply ‘carried’ other ingredients are taking their rightful place in the spotlight!

As people increasingly develop sensitivities essential oils we are seeing more brands advertising ‘clean’ formulas free essential oils.

 Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, pure botanical lipid oils don’t need to be carried.

They stand on their own, effective, nourishing, healing, protective and restorative.

And when asked, they will hold up the other ingredients in your formula with ease and grace.

Creating a base for facial and body creams, lotions, cream cleansers and masks, and carrying essential oils by creating a safe, nourishing foundation.

These are the botanical or lipid oils, formally known as ‘carrier’.

170 and counting

More and more oils are becoming available. 

From the very rare and still hard to find like pineapple seed oil (it actually smells faintly of pineapples!), basil seed oil, strawberry seed oil and pine nut oil.

To the oils that shape our lives in the kitchen and in skincare, oils like olive, grapeseed, rosehip, argan, sesame and almond oils.

Lipids Decoded is your guide to unlocking the potential in lipid oils so that you can develop effective formulas and guide your customers and clients in their skincare journey.

This program was developed for formulators, skincare professionals and people who want to work with and understand the lipid oils on a deeper level than simply as ‘carriers’.

The Program is comprised of five main parts: 

Fatty acid chemistry - so that you can confidently combine oils for specific skin results

Botanical families - to create a framework for experimenting, substituting and finding new oils to work with

Geography - where we find patterns in climate, growing regions and the structure of fatty acids that you can use as a guide for your next project

Unsaponifiables - the small but potent non-fatty acid part of all botanical oils made up of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other plant compounds

Science of Oils & Skin - each fatty acid affects the skin differently depending on the results you want and the skin condition you are working with.

Lipids Decoded guides you through the core lessons in chemistry to help you work confidently and effectively with botanical lipid oils.

Lipids Decoded guides you through the core lessons in chemistry to help you work confidently and effectively with botanical lipid oils

 But the chemistry lessons are not dry and boring like they were in high school (oops was that just me?…)

Each lesson in the chemistry section is designed to build your skills so that you can progress from no chemistry to lipid oil expert in just a few short weeks.

Visual props, graphics and Susan's unique way of teaching the chemistry of fatty acids has helped hundreds of students who didn’t think they could ‘get’ the chemistry part find understanding and confidence.

And if you have chemistry in your toolbox already, these lessons will give you visual aids and a new way of looking at fatty acids.

This course taught me what oils to combine to achieve my desired formulation. What I loved is that each module was built on the previous module. Like building a house each stage was a prelude to the next module. I was lost until I attended this course. 


Lipids Decoded Program Guide

Lipids Decoded is seven core modules that we will go trough together as a group.

Joining the live cohort gives you support, community and focus as you complete the program.

You will get email support and weekly live calls for questions and lesson review.

And, you get permanent access to the program (and new editions of Lipids Decoded) so you can study at your own pace and return to the lessons as often as you want.

This course is designed to take you step-by-step through the chemistry so that you can progress quickly and start applying the lessons to your formulating right away.

This course to take you step-by-step through the chemistry so that you can progress quickly and start applying the lessons to your formulating right away

Woven through the chemistry lessons you will find a rich template of lessons on how botany and plant families play a role in creative and innovative formulating, the patterns in geography, growing regions and plant families and sustainability, ethical sourcing and refining.

You’ll also get lessons on how oils impact, effect and interact with the skin, how each fatty acid group works on the skin and which types of oils to use for specific skin types and conditions.

And each module and many of the lessons come with additional bonus study books that you can use to go deeper on specific subjects.

The core modules give you the essential skills you need so that you can move through the course quickly and start applying it to your work right away.

And then, when you have time and maybe a cup of tea, you can curl up with the study booklets and go deep into the topics that capture your interest.

Susan M Parker 

Your Teacher & Guide

I am Susan M Parker, author, researcher and your guide to the botanical lipid oils for skincare, formulating and living life well.

The oils inspire me every day in my work whether I am writing an article, working out a new facial oil or researching a rare and interesting new fatty acid.

The oils themselves are your teachers and I am here to guide you in your work as you navigate this rapidly expanding world of the botanical lipid oils.

The Lipid Oils in Macro & Micro

 7 Modules & 21 Lessons

Zero in on the chemistry and then zoom out to a global view! Lipids Decoded is more than a course, it is a journey into botany around the world and deep into the structure and chemistry of botanical oils. 

Module 1: Structure & Substance: Key Lessons in Botanical Oil Chemistry

Lesson 1: Intro to botanical oils and the magical world of the plants they come from  

Lesson 2: Triglycerides, the fundamental structure and key to mastering botanical oil chemistry

Lesson 3: How fatty acids make every oil unique

Study Book: Lipids Decoded Workbook Part 1

Module 1

Structure & Substance: Key Lessons in Botanical Oil Chemistry

  • Lesson 1: Intro to botanical oils and the magical world of the plants they come from  
  • Lesson 2: Triglycerides, the fundamental structure and key to mastering botanical oil chemistry
  • Lesson 3: How fatty acids make every oil unique

Study Books for Module 1

Module 2

Key Fatty Acids: Your Framework for Botanical Oils

  • Lesson 4: Molly & Saturated Fatty Acids  
  • Lesson 5: Olivetti & Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
  • Lesson 6: The Twins & Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Study Books for Module 2

  • Quick Reference Guide to Fatty Acids
  • Botanical Oils from the Rose Family

Module 01

Structure & Substance: Introduction to Lipid Oil Chemistry

Learn how lipid oils affect the skin and then get started with a foundation lesson on the structure of fatty acids

Module 02 

5 Fatty Acids: Your Key to Unlocking the Skincare Benefits of the Lipid Oils

Discover the 5 fatty acids you need to know for formulating and working with carrier oils and other lipid oils

Module 03

Choosing Whole Oils vs Refined Oils &  Intro to The Healing Fraction

Whole oils or refined? In module 3 you'll learn when to choose a refined version and how to work with unrefined oils

Module 4

How Climate and Geography Impact Your Work with The  Lipid Oils 

Geography, growing regions and climate shape carrier oil chemistry. In these lessons you'll learn why this matters for formulating and skincare.

Module 05

Fatty Acids are Complex and Diverse: Here's How it Works

Fatty acid chemistry is complex and diverse. Module 5 goes into how the shape of fatty acids affect the skin feel of oils. 

Module 06

Botanical Families: An Essential Key to Working with Lipid Oils

Plant families and how to use this grouping method for formulating, plus a look at manipulated oils, hybridization and hydrogenation. 

Module 07

How Oils Impact the Skin: New Research on Lipid Oils For Skincare

Oils and the skin are compatible in numerous ways. In this module you'll learn the unique ways oils impact the skin and interact with the skin. 

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Exclusive Bonuses! Value $1160

Bonus: Guide to Conjugated Fatty Acid Oils

Value: $60 

Guide to conjugated fatty acids in oils ranging from pomegranate to bitter gourd oil. Learn how the shape of fatty acids determines how oils feel on the skin.

Bonus: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Oils 

Value: $75

Quickly reference the many oils dominant in polyunsaturated fatty acids high in LA, LNA and GLA. Find oils for facial oil formulations, skin repair and high value oils.

Bonus: Guide to Oleic Acid Dominant Oils

Value: $60

Oleic dominant oils are the workhorse in your botanical oil collection. This reference guide gives you quick access to oleic dominant oils for face and body care, infusing and base oil blends. 

Bonus: Guide to Palmitoleic Acid Oils 

Value: $45

Find anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory lipid oils quickly for healing focused formulas and topical skincare applications. 

Bonus: Guide to Saturated Plant Butters

Value: $75 

Compare pie charts and skin benefits for a wide range of plant butters across multiple families to create unique body care products with butters including mowrah, cupuacu, shea kapangnan and many more. 

Bonus: Fatty Acids Quick Reference Guide

Value: $45

Your fatty acid cheat sheet and quick reference guide. Print out a copy and keep it close at hand as you work up new formulas to cross reference fatty acids and create balanced skincare. 

Bonus: Guide to the Palm Family of Oils

Value: $75

The palm family, palm oil controversy and the many types of oil producing plants (14 in all) in the palm family including coconut oil, tucuma, murumuru & babassu.

Bonus: Carrot Seed Oil & The Carrot Family

Value: $35

Carrot, coriander, parsley this small family has some unique lipid oils with unique fatty acids and skin benefits. These oils are new in the lipid world though their essential oil counterparts have been around for a long time. 

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Rose Family

Value: $75

Quickly find and compare fatty acid profiles and other data from oils in the rose family including plum kernel oil, strawberry seed oil, rosehip, pear and more.

Bonus: Guide to Grain Family Oils & Squalene

Value: $50

Amaranth, oat, rice bran, oils from the grain family are rich in beneficial skin nutrients including squalene.

Bonus: Guide to Borage, Tomato, Cactus and Small Botanical Families

Value: $65

Tomato seed oil, mallow, borage seed oil and cactus including prickly pear all come from small families. But these oils are an important part of formulating and skincare.

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Cabbage Family

Value: $65

Find oils in the cabbage family for light skincare and haircare including daikon radish seed oil, broccoli seed oil and arugula seed oil.

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Pumpkin & Melon Family

Value: $55

Pumpkins, watermelon, cucumber, gourds and even loofah oil, lipid oils from this family are an important part of your formulating toolbox.

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Legume Family

Value: $40

From common soy to the skin superstar pracaxi oils in the legume family cover a wide range of skincare uses. Includes fatty acid profiles and pie charts for all 6 oils in the legume family.

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Euphorbia Family

Value: $35

Sacha inchi oil, kukui nut oil and castor oil might not seem related but they all belong to the same family! and that means they have similar characteristics. 

Bonus: Guide to Oils in the Daisy Family & Manipulated Oils

Value: $65

Find all the daisy family oils in one spot from sunflower seed oil to lettuce seed oil (ya lettuce seed oil!) and compare fatty acid profiles. Includes data on manipulated oils

Bonus: Guide to the Skin & Oils

Value: $75

Reference skin barrier function, ceramides, the relationship between the skin, sun and oil and how essential fatty acids make a difference in skincare and health. 

Bonus: Visual Guide to Refining in Lipid Oils

Value: $55

Botanical oils vary tremendously depending on the level of refining. In this visual reference guide look up and compare oils to see the range of pigments and refining. 

Bonus: How Oils Become Soap

Value: $75

Oils, saponification and the unique alchemy of how oils turn into soap. Learn how to make simple, oil-rich soap with a wide range of lipid oils. 

Bonus: Guide to Unsaponifiables in Lipid Oils

Value: $65

The unsaponifiables in lipid oils is a big subject and the research is new and emerging all the time. Anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds make up the unsaponifiables in botanical oils. 

What students are saying about Lipids Decoded

Lipids Decoded gave me a greater understanding of oils in general. I feel I understand difference between saturated, mono and polys etc., as well as what is good to use on our skin, why, and the different benefits of them. It covers a lot and Susan explains it in such an easy-to-follow way. I really do enjoy this oil world. 

Michelle Satchell

One of the best courses I have ever taken t0 date! Very informative and Susan does not hold back any information. She tries to give 200 percent in the course materials and in her presentations. I would recommend this course to anyone making skincare products.


This course gave me a thorough understanding of how carrier oils work, and the differences between them so that I can effectively formulate skincare solutions. My favorite part was that you get a cheat sheet of oils. For anyone that wants to have a thorough understanding of how carrier oils work, the differences between them, and how to utilize them effectively and efficiently in order to formulate skincare this is the course for you.


I am a french pharmacist and have studied in several universities in France. Susan's knowledge about the lipid world is incredible I have learned a lot with pleasure and I use the knowledge every day at work. 

Christophe Vroylandt

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  • Lipids Decoded Core Modules
  • Permanent access to Lipids Decoded
  • Unlimited time to complete the course
  • Certificate upon completion 
  • 7 weeks of live calls 
  • 16 weeks of email support 
  • Bonus Research & Study Guides: Value $1160

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  • Lipids Decoded Core Modules
  • Permanent access to Lipids Decoded
  • Unlimited time to complete the course
  • Certificate upon completion 
  • 7 weeks of live calls 
  • 16 weeks of email support 
  • Bonus Research & Study Guides: Value $1160

14 Day Money Back Guarantee

14-day money-back guarantee

Questions: email support@susanmparker.com

Lipids Decoded helped me understand the differences between oils for acne vs. anti-aging for formulating. I feel confident to share with others what I've learned as I prepare to host my first workshops for formulating for beginners in my studio lab.