There are different types of massage modalities, and each one utilizes different techniques sometimes requiring different mediums. One popular medium is massage oil, which can be used for back massage, scalp massage, lomi lomi, reflexology, or lymphatic drainage massage.
There are many different brands and formulations of massage oils, lotions, gels, and creams available on the market, many even contain CBD oil, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. To help you make a decision, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best massage oils for 2023.
Biotone is a company that started in the late 1970s with a focus on natural skincare products. The founder, Jean Shea, created the first product, Chamomile Moisture Lotion, in her home and sold it through health food stores. As the business grew, she moved to a small office near a massage school. When the school director asked if she could make products for the school, BIOTONE was born.
Biotone Nutri Naturals Light Massage Oil is made with a blend of natural ingredients, including jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and vitamin E. This light massage oil is perfect for those who want to enjoy a relaxing massage without feeling greasy afterward. The oil is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.
Many massage therapists praise this product because it leaves the skin feeling soft, hydrated, and non-greasy after a massage, while others note its pleasant scent and fast absorption. However, some have complained about an unpleasant smell.
Main ingredients: A combination of avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and wheat germ oil. Fortified with vitamins A, E, and C.
Pros: Odorless, low viscosity, slow absorption into the skin. No greasy feeling. You don’t need to apply a lot to cover a broad skin surface area.
Cons: May stain sheets and linens that are difficult to remove, but easier to remove than Biotone Revitalizing Unscented Massage Oil, which is cheaper. Extra care and handling required to avoid or minimize making stains.
This unscented massage oil from Biotone is perfect for those who want to enjoy a relaxing massage without any added fragrances. The natural ingredients work together to nourish and condition the skin, while the lack of scent means you won’t have to worry about allergies and sensitivities. If you’re looking for an unscented massage oil that won’t leave you feeling greasy, the unscented version of Biotone Revitalizing Massage Oil is a great option.
However, some reviewers have noted that the oil can get water-like in viscosity if it’s heated, and that it may stain sheets and linens. Extra care and handling may be required to avoid or minimize staining. But overall, this is a great option for an unscented, light massage oil.
Main Ingredient: Sunflower seed oil.
Pros: No grease and unscented with an 18-month shelf life in room temperature with the cap closed while in storage.
Cons: Can get water-like viscosity if heated.
This oil is cold-pressed and unrefined, meaning that it retains all of the nutrients and benefits of coconut oil. It has a strong coconut smell, so it’s great for those who love the scent of coconuts. The oil melts in your hands before you apply it, making it easy to use in a massage.
However, some have noted that the strong coconut smell can be overwhelming. Also, the oil can go rancid quickly if not stored properly. But overall, this is a great option for an organic, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Main Ingredient: Coconut oil.
Pros: Strong coconut smell if you like it. Melts in your hands before you apply it in a massage.
Cons: Strong coconut smell if you don’t like it. A little hassle scooping the oil with your fingers with the convenience of a pump. Can get rancid quickly if not stored properly.
Majestic Pure products are crafted from simple botanical ingredients and created with respect for the Earth. Their commitment to safety standards means that you don’t have to worry about compromising your health or the environment. Their products are also certified vegan and free of any synthetic fragrances, colors, or preservatives.
From essential oils to body scrubs, all of their products are GMO-free and cruelty-free, so you can be sure they’re delivering only the best quality products. Plus, Majestic Pure has an extensive fan base that spans the globe and a rich heritage of natural remedies, so you can trust their commitment to safety standards.
If you’re looking for a massage oil that’s both effective and healthy, Majestic Pure is a great option. Their products are made from natural and simple botanical ingredients, and their grapeseed oil is nearly 100% pure. Also, their products are GMO-free and cruelty-free.
People rave about how this oil leaves their skin feeling soft and pampered without disturbing the natural oil balance of their skin. Many also appreciate that it’s a good base, or carrier oil, for essential oils. Some reviewers have noted that the oil can go rancid quickly due to its nature. But overall, this is a great option for a healthy and natural massage oil.
Main Ingredient: Grapeseed oil.
Pros: Nearly 100% grapeseed oil as main ingredient. No additional chemicals. Not tested on animals.
Cons: May get rancid quicker than other types of oils due to its nature.
Bon Vital’ is a company that understands the importance of touch. They believe that touch is the starting point of wellness, relief, and healing. The company is dedicated to helping people perfect their touch by delivering high-quality massage therapy and body care products.
“Bon Vital” means “Good Life” in French, and they strive to provide unique products of superior quality for healthcare professionals in the wellness industry. The company is committed to innovation and ongoing research and development. Additionally, they are dedicated to customer service and satisfaction. Bon Vital’ strives to provide products that meet your exacting specifications.
Bon Vital Naturale Massage Oil with Jojoba is a great option for those looking for an effective and healthy massage oil. The oil is nearly 100% pure and made from natural botanical ingredients. Also, the oil is GMO-free and cruelty-free. This is another oil that can go bad quickly due to its nature. But overall, this is a great option for a healthy and natural massage oil.
Main Ingredients: Safflower seed oil, octyl palmitate, grapeseed oil, peach kernel oil, aloe vera extract, jojoba seed oil.
Pros: No greasy feeling, low viscosity, very light scent. Excellent moisturizer. Somewhat easier to remove stains from sheets.
Cons: May contain soybean oil as part of the ingredient list since it may not be listed. May have lower shelf life under room temperature conditions than most name brands.
Soothing Touch began back in 1977 in Los Angeles, Calif. by the late Yogi Bhajan. He was an experienced Kundalini Yoga teacher from India who had moved to L.A. in 1969 where he established the 3HO Foundation. In order to help his students live a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle, he provided them with a collection of oil blends that had been used for centuries back in India.
Soothing Touch Nut Free Lite Massage Oil is perfect for those with nut allergies or sensitivities. It’s water dispersible, helps retain moisture, and won’t stain sheets. This oil is nearly 100% pure, is made from natural botanical ingredients, and is GMO-free and cruelty-free.
Soothing Touch Nut Free Lite Massage Oil contains natural botanical ingredients including olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and jojoba oil. These ingredients provide skin hydration and nourishment. It does not contain any nut oils, making it a great option for those who suffer from allergies or sensitivities.
Reviews of this oil have been generally positive. Many users noted that the gliding properties were smooth and it provided just enough friction to help muscles relax without feeling greasy. Additionally, the lack of nut oils in the product ensures there is no risk of any allergic reactions. However, some reviewers mentioned that the oil can go bad quickly due to its natural composition.
Active ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, canola seed oil, rice bran oil jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, natural vitamin E.
Pros: No nut allergies or sensitivities. Water dispersible, helps retain moisture, and won’t stain sheets. This oil is nearly 100% pure, is made from natural botanical ingredients and is GMO-free and cruelty-free.
Cons: Some reviewers have noted that the oil can go bad quickly.
Botanic Hearth is a company that offers natural and safe massage oils for those who are looking for an alternative to traditional products. The company’s products are free of GMOs and cruelty, making them a great choice for those who want to use products that are environmentally friendly.
Botanic Hearth Sore Muscle Massage Oil is uniquely helpful for some thanks to its blend of arnica, camomile, and mentha arvensis oil which can relax muscles and alleviate pain.
Positive reviewers noted that the oil was effective in reducing pain and tension. They also said that it has a pleasant scent and works well as a professional massage oil. However, some negative reviewers said that the oil went bad quickly and did not last long. Overall, Botanic Hearth Sore Muscle Massage Oil is
Active ingredients: Arnica montana extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil, and mentha arvensis oil.
Pros: reduces pain, pleasant scent, works well as a professional massage oil.
Cons: Gets rancid quickly.
La Almona is a company that specializes in soap. Its products are made with all natural ingredients and are free from synthetic fragrances. La Almona’s products are also water dispersible, meaning that they will not leave behind any greasy residue.
This oil is a wonderful blend of organic sunflower, grapeseed, rice bran, and avocado oils. This oil is ultra-smooth and absorbs quickly without leaving any greasy residue and is perfect for use as a professional massage oil or for personal use. The oil is also water dispersible, meaning that it won’t leave behind any stained sheets.
The reviews for this product are mostly positive, with users citing its smooth texture and quick absorption. Some negative reviewers noted that the oil did not have a strong enough scent, and that it was not as effective as other products on the market. Overall, however, reviewers seemed to be happy with the product.
Active ingredients: Organic sunflower, grapeseed, rice bran, and avocado oils.
Pros: Ultra-smooth, quick absorption, water dispersible
Cons: Not as strong of a scent as other products, not as effective as other products
Master Massage is the leading innovator and producer of massage tables and supplies in the industry. They offer a wide variety of products that are perfect for any massage therapist. Their products are made with high quality materials and are built to last. With a commitment to customer satisfaction, Master Massage offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of their products. So if you’re looking for the best massage tables and supplies available, look no further than Master Massage.
The Master Massage SpaMaster Essentials Unscented Massage Oil is a must-have for any massage therapist. This oil is perfect for those who have sensitive skin, as it is unscented and hypoallergenic. It’s also light enough that it won’t leave your skin feeling greasy or oily. The oil is also non-staining and will not clog pores. With its light, refreshing scent, the Master Massage SpaMaster Essentials Unscented Massage Oil is perfect for any massage.
Generally, reviewers love how light and non-greasy the oil is. There are also many positive comments about how the oil doesn’t clog pores or leave a residue, but some didn’t care for the light odor. Most found that this oil washes out of fabrics easily, but a few did have issues.
Active ingredients: Purified water, canola oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, vitamin E, organic arnica montana extract, organic white willow bark. extract, bergamot fruit oil.
Pros: Non-greasy, water dispersible, doesn’t clog pores.
Cons: Mild odor.
M3 Naturals is a company that specializes in all natural and organic skin care products. The company’s products are made with only the highest quality ingredients and are free from synthetic fragrances. M3 Naturals products are also water dispersible, meaning that they won’t leave behind any greasy residue.
This massage oil is a perfect choice for those who are looking for an all natural and organic option. The oil is made with only the highest quality ingredients and is free from synthetic fragrances. The oil is also water dispersible, meaning that it will not leave behind any greasy residue. It’s perfect for use as a professional massage oil or for personal use.
The reviews for this product are mostly positive, with users citing its all natural and organic ingredients and quick absorption. Some negative reviewers noted that the oil did not have a strong enough scent, and that it was not as effective as other products on the market. Overall, however, reviewers seemed to be happy with the product.
Active ingredients: Grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E.
Pros: All natural and organic ingredients, water dispersible.
Cons: Not as strong of a scent as other products, not as effective as other products
What to look for in massage lotions
We have chosen these 10 massage oils that meet our high-quality standards based on the following criteria.
Unlike most lotions, massage oils should last as long as the massage session and should not absorb quickly into your skin. You can test it by dabbing a nickel-size sample on your forearm and spreading it across its skin, simulating a massage on the forearm extensors. After 10 minutes, if the skin is still massageable with hardly any friction, then it should be a good choice.
The absorption rate of all massage mediums will vary greatly both depending on the type of product and formula. Generally, the absorption rate will be slower with oils and gels and increase with lotions, creams, and butters. As a result, oil is ideal for full body massages where it helps for the medium to remain on the surface of the skin longer to ensure more glide.
Viscosity is a measure of the oil’s resistance to flow. The higher the viscosity, the thicker the oil and the slower it will flow.
Look for the key ingredients that research has shown to be good quality moisturizers: aloe vera, grapeseed oil, shea butter, jojoba, olive oil, rose water, honey.
The quality of any medium is only as good as its ingredients. For massage mediums we want ingredients that retain hydration while nourishing the skin. A 2010 study examined some combinations of such ingredients that can retain longer hydration and viscoelasticity of the skin than others finding the most hydrating products to be aloe vera, grapeseed oil, shea butter, and jojoba.
Some commonly used ingredients in massage oils and lotions may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Geraniol, which has a sweet odor, is used in many essential oils and is found in rose and palmarosa oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, jasmine oil and citronella oil. If using essential oils with clients, it’s important to assess their potential sensitivity to geraniol.
Another ingredient, capsaicin, is found in products that are designed to be analgesic or anti-inflammatory. If using products containing capsaicin, care must be taken not to use heating pads or any application of heat treatment, as this may cause burns.
Menthol is another ingredient that should be used with caution, as it may splash and cause burns if microwaved. When selecting a lotion or oil for massage, it is important to consider the individual’s skin condition and sensitivities in order to avoid any potential reactions.
A good massage oil shouldn’t feel thin or watery. This is usually a sign that the skin will absorb the water swiftly, leaving the oil to sit on the skin leaving your client feeling greasy. On the other hand, if an oil is too thick it may not contain the natural additives required to help absorb the oil into the skin.
Most oils that have a thicker texture when cold and thin as they warm, making a little go a long way tend to be the best, especially for modalities like Swedish and lomi lomi.
This is a very difficult question to answer since different massage oils have vastly different blends. A massage oil may state that it’s unscented because nothing was added for scent, but the natural ingredients that are used may carry a mild odor.
Most high quality massage oils will have little to no scent, but if any medium isn’t stored properly it can begin to smell like the plastic from the bottle it’s held in.
Truth in advertising
A 2014 study reviewed 1,179 online retail sites that sell herbal and similar products and found that less than 8% of them reported adverse effects, less than 3% cited scientific literature to support their claims, and 10.5% recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional before using them. Keep that in mind when you scroll through products and websites.
Find out more about each of the common herbs that are found in massage oils, lotions, and similar products at NCCIH.
Truth in advertising is important for any product, but it’s especially important for massage oils and other products that are applied to the skin. People can have different sensitivities and allergies, so it’s important that all potential side effects are listed on the product label.
Additionally, some ingredients may interact with other medications that a person is taking, so there is potential for drug interactions. Failing to do so could result in serious health complications for the customer. Finally, listing accurate and up-to-date scientific literature on the product label helps to ensure that people are using products that are backed by science.
When looking for massage oils that are environmentally friendly, therapists should look for products that are made with natural ingredients and free of synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals. Furthermore, the product packaging should be recyclable or compostable.
Finally, check that the company produces its products in an environmentally sustainable way, such as using renewable energy or investing in carbon offset programs.
What to avoid when buying massage oils
When buying massage oils and similar products, avoid products that make false claims, don’t list all of the ingredients on the label, or don’t provide adequate information about potential side effects and drug interactions.
You should avoid products that are not made with natural ingredients or that contain synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals. Finally, you should avoid products from companies that produce their products in an unsustainable way.
After reviewing all the oils on this list Majestic Pure Grapeseed Oil seems to be the clear winner since it’s only fault seems to be it can go bad quickly. This really is the perfect choice for massage therapists since it is unlikely to cause any allergic reaction, has no scent and absorbs into the skin. This versatile and nourishing oil offers quick absorption and a pleasant scent that won’t overpower all while having an efficient glide during massage sessions.
When it comes to purchasing massage oils, consider the important factors.
- Make sure the oil is all-natural and hypoallergenic to ensure that it won’t cause any skin irritation.
- Look for an oil with a light scent that won’t be overbearing in the room.
- Make sure to choose an oil that is water dispersible so it won’t leave behind any greasy residue after use.
Lindsay Jones, LMT
Lindsay is a licensed massage therapist and a mother of three, who specializes in rehabilitation with emphasis on prenatal and postnatal care.
After graduating from the National Holistic Institute in San Jose, Calif., she went on to study how pain affects the body and how it can be alleviated during the constant changes of pregnancy and early motherhood.
In her free time, Lindsay has a deep love of all forms of art from storytelling and music to sewing and painting.