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Massage Oil Guide

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In the world of self-care and relaxation there are few things better than the gentle touch of a massage done right. It’s not only the hands of the massager/therapist or the technique that can make or break the experience – choosing the right massage oil is equally important. There are so many different consistencies, scents and ingredients to choose from, that finding the right massage oil for you can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. In this post we’ll explore the various options, ingredients and textures of massage oils so that you can find one that is just right for you! Join us on the ultimate massage oil guide! 

Textures And Consistencies

Empty bottles with flowers in them

The range of textures and consistencies of massage oils are as diverse as the plants they are derived from.

The range of textures and consistencies of massage oils are as diverse as the plants they are derived from. These different options not only influence the way the massage feels on your skin, but they can create a variety of different ambiences and atmospheres. Light and silky textures offer you a feather-light touch and the massager can effortlessly glide over your skin with no friction. Lightweight oils have a lower viscosity, meaning that they are able to spread evenly and smoothly throughout your skin. 

On the other end of the spectrum we have oils that are rich and creamy. They allow for a luxurious experience and the oil used is thick and emollient, which can have additional benefits to your skin. Furthermore, you have water-based massage oils which offer a refreshing alternative to those who prefer a less greasy experience. If you’re new to massages, try experimenting with different blends and oils to find the texture and consistency that feels right for you!

Ingredients You Need 

From plant-based oils and butters to humectants, discover the elements that make massage oils a nourishing treat for your skin.

1. Plant-Based Oils 

When it comes to nourishing plant oils, mother nature has provided an array of natural ingredients that can be used for massages. Oils like jojoba are lightweight and resemble the consistency of the natural sebum produced by our skin, making it ideal for massages. Avocado, almond and coconut oils are also nutrient-rich plant-based oils that act as excellent emollients, soothing and softening the skin.

2. Plant-Based Butters

Plant-based butters make for an extremely decadent massage experience. Their rich, creamy textures provide an array of skin-loving benefits. Shea butter helps the skin feel moisturized and nourished, while cocoa butter provides intense hydration and offers a subtle scent which can heighten the massage experience. Another popular option is mango butter. Light and easily absorbed, this butter adds a tropical touch to your massage, and also provides lasting hydration.

3. Humectants

Humectants are amazing ingredients when used in massage oils, because they have the ability to attract and retain moisture. Glycerin is a popular humectant found not only in massage oils, but in skincare products across the board for its ability to keep skin soft and supple. Hyaluronic acid is another humectant which you should look for in massage oil formulas. It has a way of making the skin appear fresher and plump.

Ingredients To Avoid

Not all ingredients found in massage oils are good!

Not all ingredients found in massage oils are good! Here are a few ingredients to avoid in massage oils. Steering clear of potential irritants and harmful substances will ensure you don’t compromise on the quality of your massage.

1. Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances, often labeled as “fragrance” or “perfume” on ingredient lists, can contain a mix of undisclosed chemicals. These chemicals are potentially harsh on your skin and cause irritation, blotching and redness. They also strip the skin of its natural oils, making it more dry and prone to itchiness. Opt for massage oils with natural essential oils or those that clearly disclose the source of their fragrance for a more transparent choice.

2. Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Synthetic fragrances are just one of the potentially harmful chemicals that are found in mainstream cosmetics products. Commonly used chemicals such as parabens are suggested to have hormone-disrupting effects, and mineral oil, which is derived from petroleum, is often criticized for its potential to clog pores and create a barrier that hinders the skin’s natural functions. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to opt for formulas that are more natural than synthetic. 

3. Alcohol 

Chemical through a microscope

When used in massage oils, alcohol dries out the skin.

Alcohol has a natural tendency to quickly evaporate, and when it’s used in massage oil formulas, it can dry the skin and strip it of its natural oils. If you have skin that is already dry and sensitive, alcohol may cause a burning sensation when applied. This can lead to irritation and itchiness which causes discomfort and can appear physically as red, blotchy patches on your skin. Massage oils that contain alcohol as an ingredient are best avoided.

Skin Type Guide

Understanding your skin type is a crucial step in selecting the perfect massage oil. Whether you have dry, oily, sensitive, normal or combination skin, matching the oil to your specific needs ensures an optimal and personalized experience.

1. Dry Skin 

If you have naturally dry skin then you should be choosing a massage oil that contains hydrating plant-based oils and one that also contains humectants. Dry skin not only needs ingredients that are going to moisturize the skin, but also ones that can help retain the moisture once the massage oil has been applied. Nourishing oils such as jojoba, sweet almond and avocado oil can provide hydration without clogging the skin’s pores. These oils are also rich in nutrients, minerals and fatty acids which can help soothe and replenish dry, flaky skin.

2. Oily Skin 

Grapes hanging from vine.

Grapeseed oil and safflower oil are able to hydrate without leaving a greasy residue on the skin.

If you have oily skin then you should only use massage oils that are lightweight. Lightweight oils mimic the natural texture and consistency of sebum, which is essentially oil produced by our bodies. When we use lightweight oils for massages on oily-prone skin, we are less likely to clog pores and this prevents breakouts further down the line. Grapeseed oil and safflower oil are able to hydrate without leaving a greasy residue on the skin, making them ideal for oily skin.

3. Sensitive Skin 

Ingredients that are soothing and calming on the skin can go a long way in benefitting skin that is naturally sensitive. For example, chamomile oil as an ingredient in skincare can calm sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties and calendula oil has gentle healing properties which can help soothe delicate skin. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, you should take extra care in avoiding potentially harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances. 

4. Normal Skin 

If you have normal skin, then you are one of the lucky ones! You’ll have a lot more options to choose from when it comes to finding a massage oil and you can experiment with different formulas and combinations. Coconut and argan oil are great ingredients for normal skin, because they help maintain the skin’s natural sebum balance, so your skin is neither dry, nor oily. Additionally, these oils provide a well-rounded blend of vitamins and fatty acids.

5. Combination Skin

Combination skin requires a customized approach to massages.

If you have combination skin, meaning that your skin either be too oily, or too dry depending on the day, then you need to take a customized approach to using massage oils. You can usually tell on the days when your skin feels dry, and when it feels too oily. So on the dry days opt for thicker, moisturizing formulas and on the oily days, opt for lightweight oils. Rosehip seed oil is a great ingredient for combination skin, because it can hydrate dry skin, and at the same time it can help maintain the balance of sebum in the oily areas of your skin. 

Exploring Scents

On the journey for the best massage experiences, your choice of scents plays a crucial role. Natural scents may have therapeutic advantages for both the mind and body and are a holistic approach to the massage experience. Essential oils are derived from plants, usually by distilling or pressing, and they offer unique fragrances and therapeutic properties.

Lavender is renowned for its calming effects and can promote relaxation. Citrus oils like orange and grapefruit provide an energizing boost. Additionally, carrier oils like sweet almond and coconut carry subtle and delightful natural fragrances. These natural scents can help add a touch of aromatherapeutic magic to your massage and heighten the ambience.


A massage without oil can still feel really good, of course. But what makes a massage truly next-level is a loving touch combined with an oil tailored to your needs and desires. Opting for naturally-derived formulas will benefit your skin’s health and your overall wellness, and choosing your favorite scent can completely transform the experience from average to mind-blowing!

Remember that a massage should be about relaxing and care. So once you’ve chosen your oil, lay down, close your eyes and take it all in.