Best Massage Oils

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
418 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best massage oils

Last Updated November 2019

Massage oils are a must-have accessory for any massage. Whether you’re giving a massage to yourself or a loved one or receiving one from a professional, a good massage oil allows hands to glide over the body without friction. A scented oil can also create a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.

Before you decide on a massage oil, there are some factors to keep in mind, like the type of massage the oil will be used for. You’ll want a different oil for a deep-tissue massage than for a Swedish massage. Also, consider skin sensitivities, fragrance, the weight of the oil, and ease of application. Ultimately, you want an oil that will enhance the massage without making skin too greasy.

Our buying guide covers everything you need to consider when shopping for massage oils, including how much you should pay. For our five favorite oils on the market, see the matrix above.

Massage oil serves as a moisturizer and rejuvenates skin. When infused with essential oils, it can even stimulate blood circulation.

Key considerations

High-friction vs. low-friction massage

Different massage types are better suited for different massage oils. You’ll want to use heavier oils for a lighter massage. A Swedish massage, for example, is meant to relax the body with long, gliding strokes toward the heart. Avocado oil and olive oil are ideal for low-friction massages. A heavier massage oil won’t absorb as quickly into the skin, making it easier for hands to glide smoothly over the body.

A deep-tissue massage, on the other hand, is high-friction. Meant to treat chronic pain and aches, a deep-tissue massage stimulates muscles and connective tissue. Since it’s more intense than a low-friction massage, there’s often some discomfort involved. A lighter massage oil will absorb into the skin quicker, so you won’t have to worry about hands slipping off the body during deep work. Coconut oil and grapeseed oil are well-suited for high-friction massages.

Works wonders for back rubs

This soothing massage oil is just as effective for non-sensual massages. It’s gentle enough to be suitable for daily use and lasts a deceptively long time for the size of the bottle. Wonderful for baths, foot massages, pre-bedtime massages, and relieving sore areas, this massage oil contains lavender, almond oil, and jojoba oil. The lavender smell is soothing and works for both sexes.

Skin sensitivity

Skin irritation can spoil an otherwise pleasant massage experience. Those with sensitive skin should keep an eye out for hypoallergenic massage oils with light or no scent. You may also want to avoid any nut oils. Organic and virgin oil products are purer and typically free of additives. Try a massage oil with a jojoba or grapeseed oil base to lessen skin irritation.

Allergy tests are critical, so remember to dab some oil on a patch of skin to see if there’s any reaction before committing to a more extensive massage. A patch test is a smart idea for anyone, even those without sensitive skin.

If you intend on giving foot massages, note that the soles of the feet absorb oil faster than any other body part.

Features

Scent

For those without sensitive skin, scented massage oils lend a nice ambience to your massage experience. Natural scents are pretty common with massage oils, such as sandalwood, lavender, chamomile, or mint. Some oils, such as coconut, already have a light scent. You can always opt for an unscented oil and add various essential oils as desired. Some essential oils will even enhance the massage oil’s properties. Peppermint oil, for example, is great for pain relief.

Applicator

For body massages, a bottle with a pump is ideal. That way you won’t have to worry about bottles slipping out of oily hands or fumbling with a top in the middle of a massage. Many massage oils on the market come with a pump. Other massage oils have a flip top or screw top. If you’re set on a particular massage oil with a screw top, you can always buy a pump separately.

EXPERT TIP

Do not apply massage oil directly from the bottle to the body. The oil should be warmed up first, either with your hands or with a massage oil heater.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Massage oil heaters: Therapist’s Choice Oil/Lotion Bottle Warmer with Auto-Temperature
If you’re a professional or give massages frequently, a massage oil heater is a good investment. Some use a simple flame, while others are electric heaters, like this one from Therapist’s Choice. Its auto-temperature control heats bottles to 140°F and then automatically shuts off.

Massage oil holsters: EarthLite Massage Bottle Holster
A massage oil holster holds massage oil bottles and is worn around the waist. It’s very handy for professionals. We like this holster from EarthLite, which is adjustable and available as a single or double holster.

Essential oils: doTERRA Family Essentials Kit
You can add essential oils to any plain oil base. Just be sure the massage recipient’s skin won’t react negatively to the potent essential oils. This set from doTERRA has every essential oil you might need, from lavender to frankincense.

DID YOU KNOW?

Petroleum-based oils, like baby oil, aren’t recommended for massages. They tend to sit on the surface of the skin rather than absorbing, and they don’t have as many health benefits as plant-based oils.

Massage oil prices

Massage oils vary in price depending on the purity of the product. The majority of massage oils fall between $6 and $35.

Like with essential oils, you get what you pay for. Massage oils in the $6 to $10 price range come in smaller amounts – 30 milliliters is common. While there are bargains to be found, you’re more likely to find non-virgin, non-organic oils that may or may not include fillers.

You should have no trouble finding a high-quality massage oil in the $10 to $20 range. Mid-range massage oils usually include pumps for easy use and are packaged in amber bottles for optimal storage.

Massage oils over $20 may come in large quantities, be formulated with organic ingredients, or have extra benefits, such as anti-aging or pain-relief properties.

A versatile bargain oil

The NOW Foods Massage Oil is a blend of lavender, extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, lanolin, and natural vitamins. This massage oil has a number of uses, from sensual massage to deep-tissue work. It lubricates without leaving skin greasy. Lavender is the dominant scent, but it’s subtle and suitable for sensitive skin. With the bottle size, this oil is sure to last for some time.

Tips

  • Start with a dime-size amount of product. Warm the massage oil by rubbing it between your hands for 10 seconds. There are devices that warm massage oil, too, but your hands will do the trick.
  • Don’t forget to set the mood for the massage with some dim lights, candles, and gentle music.
  • Those who are health-conscious should be sure their chosen massage oil is paraben-free.
  • Like essential oils, massage oils stay fresh the longest when stored in dark amber bottles in a cool, dry place.

Other products we considered

There were several other massage oils that caught our eye. The Melt Sweet Almond Sensual Massage Oil is aimed toward couples who want a more intimate massage experience. Users say their hands glide easily with a small application of oil and that it doesn’t leave a sticky residue. Unlike some massage oils, this one is also suited for use on more sensitive body parts. Though the bottle comes with a screw top, a useful pump is included, too. You can also add the essential oils of your choosing, since this massage oil is a scentless, almond oil-based product. For those more interested in aromatherapy and anxiety relief, the Brookthorne Naturals Calm Massage Oil is sure to please. Made with a blend of lavender oil, Roman chamomile oil, and clary sage oil, the herbal scent is soothing without being overpowering. This massage oil is non-greasy and hypoallergenic, though do a patch test if you have any flower allergies. Professionals and home users alike are fans of the pump bottle and the oil’s longevity – a dime-size amount goes a long way.

Massage oil can be pleasant for babies and young children. But check with your doctor before using massage oil on any child younger than two.

FAQ

Q. Should I use a massage oil or massage lotion?
A.
Whether you use a massage oil or massage lotion all comes down to preference. Oil, of course, is slippery and can cause accidents if you’re not careful. Lotions are more likely to contain synthetic chemicals, and they take longer to warm up than oils.


Q. Does massage oil clog pores?
A.
That depends on whether or not the massage oil is classified as comedogenic, which means likely to clog pores. Jojoba oil and grapeseed oil, two common massage oil bases, are low on the comedogenic scale. Avocado oil, unfortunately, can clog pores.


Q. Will massage oil stain my clothes?
A.
There is a risk of massage oil staining fabrics, and every oil can leave a greasy film. If you can, take a shower to wash off the massage oil after your massage.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Ola
    Ola
    Writer

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