A good massage can work wonders on the body and mind, but with so many different types of massage, it can be difficult to know which lubricant to use. Massage oil is usually the first to come to mind due to general association, but there are also massage gels, creams, and lotions. With so many options available, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Whether you’re looking for something to relieve muscle pain or help with stretch marks, or wanting to know what medium is best to use for back massage or reflexology—we got you covered! Here are our top 10 picks for the best massage lotions for 2023.
1. Bon Vital Original Massage Lotion
Bon Vital’ is an American company founded in 1988 by chemist Guenter Heidenberger and is based in Heartland, Wisconsin. He specialized in pharmaceutical and electrochemistry, a speciality that would later be pivotal in formulating Bon Vital’ products.
Bon Vital’ Original Massage Lotion is great for a wide variety of modalities because it retains a glide while still being water based, giving it a nice balance of friction and glide. With a thick texture a small amount will go a long way, and if you do need to use more it won’t leave your hands over saturated and left to wrinkle.
Although this lotion is unscented, those who are more sensitive may detect a slight odor, this is not from any additives, rather the natural smell of the individual ingredients. On the flip side, if you are the kind who likes to add essential oils to their working medium, this lotion is a great base because its consistency won’t change or become sticky once oils are added.
Active ingredients: Purified water, sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, olive oil.
Pros: Odorless, low viscosity, and no greasy feeling scented oils can be added.
Cons: May leave an odor on sheets if left unwashed because of the oils.
2. Soothing Touch Unscented Jojoba Massage Lotion
Soothing Touch was founded in 1977 by Harbhajan Singh Puri, also known as Yogi Bhajan or Siri Singh Sahib by his students, in Los Angeles, Calif. Along with his teachings, Yogi Bhajan also shared his knowledge of ancient Ayurvedic formulas that have been used in India for many years. Over time, formulas and ingredients change, and here is how Soothing Touch Unscented massage lotion’s current formula stands.
This lotion works for warming tissue and will mix nicely with a clients natural oils giving you a longer glide after the tissue is warmed. Making it ideal for focus work, myofascial release, and deep tissue work. It’s water based but also has various oils as some of the main ingredients giving it both glide and friction.
Although some have mentioned a greasy feeling, this may have to do with climate or how much medium was used as a vast majority of reviewers disagree. Scent was much the same with a few reviewers stating there is a faint scent, but nothing off-putting and it blends well with essential oils.
Active ingredients: Filtered water, cetyl alcohol, triethanolamine, propylene glycol, octyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate (and) PEG-100 stearate, stearic acid, jojoba oil.
Pros: No nuts and parabens. Allows smooth gliding for a long time. Great for Swedish massage and Hawaiian lomi lomi with minimal friction.
Cons: Oil might make the lotion rancid if stored improperly. May stain sheets and clothes.
3. Biotone Advance Therapy Massage Lotion
Biotone is one of the most popular manufacturers of massage mediums today, but it all started in the San Diego kitchen of Jean Shea in the 1970s. Shea started her skin care company with a daily moisturizer. Once her company moved out of her kitchen she relocated to an office by a massage school. After trying out the products that Shea was making, the director of the school asked if she would be able to develop a line for massage therapy.
Thus, Biotone was formed. Biotone doesn’t state how environmentally friendly they are, but they do not test on animals and use natural and organic ingredients.
This lotion does not bead up on dry skin but it does absorb swiftly. This is nice for clients coming in on their lunch break, but it means that more has to be used during the session.
Having at least some Biotone Advanced Therapy on hand can be a very good thing as it has no odor and doesn’t have arnica where many massage lotions do. Arnica is a very beneficial and therapeutic oil, but it can cause skin irritation on some.
Active ingredients: Purified water, coconut oil ester, apricot oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil.
Pros: Not too slick yet not too dry. This is a versatile lotion for a variety of massage techniques. Absorbs into skin somewhat quicker than most name brands of lotions. No scent.
Cons: May smell if not stored properly because of the oil combinations.
4. TheraPro Deep Tissue Massage Lotion
Not much can be found about TheraPro as a company, but you can find their products at sites like Massage Warehouse and Allegro Medical.
This lotion seems to have inconsistent quality and a majority of the reviews are positive. The inconsistency could be issues with how and for how long the stock is stored causing it to go bad prior to shipping from third party carriers.
TheraPro Deep Tissue Massage lotion soaks into the skin without leaving an oily feel and doesn’t stain sheets. This lotion also has no scent or reactionary ingredients so it may be a good backup lotion for clients with sensitive skin.
Active ingredients: Water, octyl palmitate, almond oil, grapeseed oil, propylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol.
Pros: For those on a budget without (much) sacrifice for quality. Higher viscosity allows deeper pressure.
Cons: May get rancid quicker than other types of oils due to its nature.
5. Sacred Earth Botanicals Vegan Massage Lotion
Sacred Earth Botanicals is located in Willamette Valley near Eugene, Oregon. Their natural and cruelty free facility is certified organic by both the USDA and the Oregon Tilth, and their “mission is to promote a line of professional massage therapy products with a focus on certified organic ingredients, environmentally friendly packaging, and sustainable business practices.”
Sacred Earth Botanicals Vegan massage lotion is made without common allergens like nuts, gluten, and fragrance, making it a good choice for those with sensitivities. The ingredients are also organic and vegan, making this a more environmentally-friendly option. The lotion absorbs easily and won’t leave your clients feeling greasy. It’s also water dispersible, making it easy to clean out of linens.
This lotion has generally positive reviews, with customers praising its absorbency, lack of greasiness, and environmental friendliness. However, some customers have found that the lotion is too thin and needs additional oil to be effective. Others have noted that the price has increased steadily over the years.
Active ingredients: Purified water, sunflower seed oil, octyl palmitate, vegetable glycerin, organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol.
Pros: No greasy feeling, low viscosity, very light scent. Glide well and allow deep pressure work.
Cons: May cause skin allergies to some people.
6. Massage FX Unscented Massage Lotion
Massage FX is another company with very little information on the company itself but they do pride themselves on quality ingredients and a commitment to wellness.
The cost of Massage FX Unscented Massage Lotion is, no doubt, what has drawn more people to it, but opinions are mixed. This lotion has limited to no glide making it a contender for focus work and deeper modalities as well as reflexology but a few reviewers commented on its thin and sticky nature with two of them saying that it smelled of “school glue.” That being said, most reviewers were happy with their purchase.
Active ingredients: Water, sunflower seed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, arnica montana flower extract, vitamin E, triethanolamine
Cons: Does not allow versatility in massage modalities.
7. Master Massage Massage Lotion
Master Massage is a company that is committed to provide high quality and durable massage products. They use the latest technologies to manufacture their products which are then supplied to spas, clinics, and therapy centers.
Master Massage has a wide range of massage lotions and oils that are available in different fragrances. The company also offers custom-made blends of essential oils that can be used in their products.
The Master Massage Massage Lotion has received mixed reviews. Some reviewers have said that the lotion is light and has good glide, while others have said that the lotion is too runny and does not provide enough glide. One thing people do tend to agree on is that this lotion is fully absorbent and does not leave any greasy residue.
This lotion does not work well on clients with excessive body hair and that there has been some inconsistency in the product. Whether this is due to inadequate storage of stock or a change in formula was unclear. Overall, the Master Massage Massage Lotion is a good product that is available in a variety of fragrances.
Active ingredients: Water, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil.
Pros: Light and has good glide, fully absorbent, does not leave any greasy residue, product consistency.
Cons: Runny; may not work on hairy people.
8. Organic Naturals Massage Lotion by Lotus Touch
Lotus Touch is a company that specializes in organic and natural products for massage therapists. Their Organic Naturals Massage Lotion is made with 100% organic ingredients and is paraben free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, and GMO free. It’s also cruelty free and is not tested on animals.
The Organic Naturals Massage Lotion by Lotus Touch is a good product for those who are looking for an organic and natural option. The lotion has a light scent and is said to be non-greasy and absorb quickly. Reviewers also say that the lotion provides good glide and does not leave a residue. Overall, the Organic Naturals Massage Lotion by Lotus Touch is a good choice for those who are looking for an organic and natural option.
Active ingredients: Coconut, safflower oil, jojoba oil, shea butter.
Pros: light scent, non-greasy, absorb quickly, good glide.
Cons: balls up on dry skin, some reviewers said it had a sticky texture.
9. Village Naturals Therapy Lotion
If you’re looking for a company that cares about its products and customers, look no further than Village Naturals Therapy. For more than 30 years, they’ve been delivering quality products that are loved by generations. Their hand-selected ingredients and formulas are designed to give you the most out of your purchase. So if you’re looking for a product that nourishes and revitalizes your skin, you can trust Village Naturals Therapy.
Village Naturals Therapy Lotion is a great choice for those who are looking for a product that will nourish and revitalize their skin. The lotion is made with a powerful blend of ingredients that help to ease tension and pain caused by overworked, achy muscles.
Massage the lotion on sore muscles and experience the comforting and soothing properties of wintergreen, eucalyptus, and cooling menthol.
With a blend of powerful ingredients, including Shea butter and aloe vera extract, our hand, body, and foot muscle relief lotion provides all-day hydration to leave skin feeling nourished, smooth, and refreshed. Let the revitalizing qualities of wintergreen and menthol soothe muscle pain while keeping your skin looking healthy and radiant. Village Naturals Therapy products are proudly made in the USA and are never tested on animals.
The Village Naturals Therapy Lotion has both positive and negative reviews. Some people love the scent and how it works on their joints, while others find the scent too strong. This lotion does contain menthol and may make the skin tingly or cold making it ideal for a focused area rather than a full body massage. Overall, the majority of reviewers rave about this lotion as both a working medium and a personal lotion but any open cuts should be avoided.
Active ingredients: Water, sunflower seed oil, fragrance, glycerin, sorbitol, menthol, Shea butter, aloe, eucalyptus, wintergreen leaf extract, rosemary leaf oil.
Pros: Alleviates pain, non-greasy, absorbs quickly.
Cons: Strong scent, contains ingredients that may cause topical reactions.
10. Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Soothing Butter Lotion
TNG Worldwide is a family-run business that has been manufacturing the best beauty and personal care products since 1985. The company offers both consumer and business products, with signature brands ForPro Professional Collection & Ginger Lily Farms being perennial leaders in every category they represent. Products are manufactured in countries throughout the world, based on each country’s expertise, with all of the Ginger Lily Farms products being made in the Midwest.
The Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Soothing Butter Lotion is a good choice for those who are looking for an organic and natural option. The lotion has a light scent and is said to be non-greasy and absorb quickly. Overall, this is a good choice for those looking for an organic and natural massage lotion.
This lotion has mainly positive reviews, with people praising it for being an affordable, organic, and natural option. The lotion is said to have a light scent, be non-greasy, and absorb quickly. Reviewers also say that the lotion provides good glide and does not leave a residue.
The main complaints about the lotion are that it’s not very effective at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and that it doesn’t last long. Overall, the Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Soothing Butter Lotion is a good choice for those who are looking for an affordable, organic, and natural option.
What to look for in massage lotions
We have chosen these 10 massage lotions that meet our high-quality standards based on the following criteria.
- Absorption rate: Lotions absorb quicker than oils, so you want one that does not absorb too quickly and can last most of the session without having to constantly re-apply. 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.
- Viscosity: Lotions are in the middle-ground of viscosity between oil (lower viscosity) and gels (higher viscosity). The type you want depends on what you need it for, whether it’s for basic Swedish massage or sustained deep pressure.
- Ingredients: Look for the key ingredients that research has shown to be good quality moisturizers: aloe vera, coconut, grapeseed oil, shea butter, jojoba, olive oil, and cocoa butter.
- Allergies: If you’re allergic to certain nuts or other ingredients, examine the label careful before buying and using the massage lotion. For massage therapists, ask new patients or clients if they have any allergies so they select the right lotion for them.
- Greasiness: A good massage lotion should not feel like bacon grease. Greasy oils make cleaning sheets more difficult.
- Odor: While some massage therapists prefer certain types of massage lotion scents, some lotions have strong scents that may turn off patients or clients. Take a whiff of the product before you buy it.
- Truth in advertising: You want to spend your hard-earned money on products and brands that are honest to the public, and it can be challenging to determine what claims are true or not. But there are ways for you to navigate through the marketing claims.
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.
- Environmental friendly: Do a little research about the company that sells massage lotions like how the products were made. How are the herbs cultivated and grown? Is the process environmentally sustainable? Were they tested on animals?
Our top pick for massage lotion is Soothing Touch Unscented Jojoba Massage Lotion due to its versatility as a product, trustworthy company, and natural ingredients. This lotion can be used for massage, as a body lotion, or even as a facial moisturizer. The lotion is also non-greasy and absorbs quickly, making it a good choice for those who don’t want to feel oily after their massage.
The Soothing Touch Unscented Jojoba Massage Lotion is made with 100% pure jojoba oil, which closely resembles the natural sebum produced by our skin. Jojoba oil is non-greasy and absorbs quickly, making it an ideal massage medium. The lotion also contains vitamin E and aloe vera to nourish and protect the skin. The Soothing Touch Unscented Jojoba Massage Lotion is free of synthetic fragrances, colors, and preservatives, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin.
[Related: Can you mix CBD massage oil with lotion?]
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.