A massage is a great way to loosen muscles, aid relaxation and soothe your mind. For couples or anyone keen to try massage, using oils not only makes the massage more comfortable and pleasurable, but they also smell great - turning the experience into a treat for the senses. Some oils come with added benefits for sensitive skin, stretch marks, and cellulite too.
From Elemis and Weleda to Clarins and Burt's Bees, there are some gorgeous massage oils available out there. Whether you want to unwind, ease pain, or nourish skin during pregnancy - read on! Check out our informative buying guide and glide through our selection, ranked according to quality, value and function. Moreover, we have partnered with Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu for reviewing and fact-checking the article so that we can deliver you the best information.
Felipe Partarrieu is a dermatologist, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skin care, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.
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Felipe Partarrieu is a final year dermatology resident, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skin care, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.
If you're going to be massaging a new mum (or you are one, and you've found a willing masseur or masseuse!), try an oil specially created with motherhood in mind. This could be one aimed at hydrating and softening stretch marks, such as those with added sweet almond oil (containing naturally-occurring vitamin E), a known skin healer, perfect for growing bumps.
Sadly, there are no magic treatments that can prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Vitamin E oil is commonly used to prevent stretch marks, as research shows that vitamin E helps the skin become more elastic, allowing it to stretch further without damage.
Hoping cellulite will vanish? We think it looks fine! But if you're worried, massage oils containing jojoba, grapeseed and eucalyptus can help soothe this common condition and tackle unwanted fatty tissue, in collaboration with firm and regular massage.
If you have a physical ache you'd like to work on in your massage, such as an injured muscle area or painful joints from arthritis, various plant-based ingredients can help. Strained your hamstring? Try a massage oil with arnica, which is believed to soothe sprains and muscle aches or one containing stimulating mint, eucalyptus, fennel, or cyprus-leaf oils.
Arnica is used topically for a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, superficial phlebitis, joint pain, inflammation from insect bites, and swelling from broken bones. More recent studies suggest it may also be helpful in the treatment of burns so be on the lookout for arnica.
If you're simply looking to massage as a way to pamper and unwind, or to invigorate, there are several additions that can do wonders for both the body and the mind. For instance, zingy, bright and fresh fragrances such as lemon, lemongrass, mandarin and geranium will lift the spirits, pairing brilliantly with a vigorous, awakening massage.
In contrast, for an exquisitely slow, calming experience, scents such as neroli, lavender and chamomile are famous for their ability to ease tension, reduce stress, and help you drift off to sleep – ideal for high-pressured moments in life.
One of the key considerations when picking a massage oil is of course its scent, as this will strongly influence the massage experience. Some of the massage oils which are designed to be as pampering as possible, may include a long list of ingredients, including synthetic perfumes or fragrances.
If you or your massage recipient does have sensitive skin or allergies, or you're not too fond of heavily perfumed products, it may be worth looking for a fragrance-free massage oil. Massage oils can be made up of anywhere from one to a dozen plant-based oils. These can include practically-unscented almond, wheatgerm and grapeseed oils, through to more nose-stimulating peppermint, cinnamon bark and geranium oils - so choose with care.
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Aromatic Massage Oil
A Delectably Scented Massage Oil That Helps Nourish Your Skin
Muscle Massage Oil
Soothe Aching Muscles With Arnica
Relax Body Treatment Oil
Relax and Indulge With the Benefits of Antioxidant-Rich Hazelnut Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
An All-Over 100% Almond Oil Treatment for Dry Skin
Soothing Massage Oil
Ease Tight, Stiff Muscles and Soothe Tired Skin
The Body Shop
Thai Makrut Lime Firming Massage Oil
Awaken Your Senses With Thai Citrus-Scented Massage
Massage Into Skin to Ease the Appearance of Cellulite
Revive Massage & Body Oil
A Reviving Blend of Coconut and Jojoba Oils
Mama Body Oil
A Light Oil With Vitamin E to Soften and Hydrate Skin During Pregnancy
De-Stress Massage Oil
Lavender and Chamomile Massage Oil to Relax the Mind
You can always rely on Neal's Yard to come up with the goods! A truly superior massage oil is always fragranced to perfection, doesn't use harsh chemicals, and is light on the fingers without being sticky or oozy – this product ticks all of those boxes.
Lavender and mandarin team up with geranium to make this oil a scent-sational choice for vigorous or loving massages alike. Organic sunflower, almond and wheatgerm oils are also included, meaning skin cells get the VIP treatment too, be that for pregnancy, new mums, or anyone looking for a pamper. It's a winner!
Suffering after an intense workout, or plagued by arthritis? Try Weleda's spectacularly popular massage oil enriched with the healing properties of arnica. The makers actually recommend use before or after exercise, so you can prevent as well as cure.
Arnica is believed to soothe bruises, sprains and inflammation - the helenalin contained in the arnica plant may be the reason it is lauded by many as an effective pain reliever. Certainly, this natural massage oil is a big hit with online shoppers!
Pack your skin full of the nutrients of hazelnut oil while you slip into deep relaxation. Clarins have concocted a peerless massage oil by blending the antioxidant properties of the hazelnut with a wonderful combination of scents.
Basil and geranium are highly uplifting, and when paired with calming chamomile you create a soothing scent that leaves you warm and reassured, so it's no wonder it's a popular pick for pregnancy. Ideal for a gently indulging massage where you'll drift into sleep and wake up renewed.
A massage with this 100% sweet almond oil can't fail to be relaxing - or invigorating, as it really depends on the masseuse! But the key properties of this oil are its profoundly hydrating, skin-healing qualities.
This is one of Amazon's best-selling oils, likely because it's very affordable, it's entirely natural and GMO-free, and it's cruelty-free and vegan. The joy of this oil is that it can function either as a simple oil for sensitive skins or as a base for the essential oil fragrance you love the best!
This massage oil is ideal for anyone suffering from sports- or exercise-related injuries, as it harnesses the powers of peppermint and eucalyptus to soothe and relax overly-tensed, uncomfortable muscles.
Add to that the delectable scent and calming properties of lemongrass and a dreamy touch of cinnamon bark, and you've got a fragrance combination that can take you from the massage table to nirvana in a matter of moments.
The Body Shop does not disappoint when it comes to sumptuous fragrances! Here is a stimulating and firming massage oil that will really boost the mood and leave your muscles singing, as it is full of beneficial ingredients.
Body Shop's Spa of the World range has plenty of treats, and this massage oil may include a fair few chemical ingredients alongside the natural, but it will still leave your skin firm, quenched and stroke-able.
If you're worried about the texture of your skin, an all-over body massage with this sweet-smelling oil could prove highly effective. Using 100% natural ingredients, Weleda's offering promises to firm and tone skin effectively.
Also wonderful for uplifting and refreshing, this oil is scented with invigorating grapefruit and cypress oils, so it lends itself to a bold, fearless massage that will sweep away the cobwebs and give cellulite the boot at the same time!
This glorious massage oil has a base of coconut and jojoba for a warm, exotic scent. Peach kernels, grapefruit, rosemary and juniper then add new layers of sweetness, making it a sensory treat, plus there are some muscle-soothing additions such as eucalyptus and mint, too.
Whoever is giving the massage here should make the most of these bright fragrance notes with a vigorous, pummelling massage! This easily-absorbed oil won't leave you greasy but will moisturise to the max. In reference to its high price point, you may only want to use this on particularly arduous days though.
Burt's Bees have released this pleasant, 100% natural light-textured oil which is packed with vitamin E as well as sweet almond and lemon oils, making it a magical choice for a deeply hydrating massage on growing pregnancy bumps or for new mamas.
It can also be used by itself as a nourishing body oil for dry skin types, but doubles as a massage oil for any natural skincare fan as it's pleasantly scented and leaves skin feeling impossibly soft and touchable. However, if you're looking for more muscle healing properties, one of our other oils may suit you better.
This luxurious combination of fragrant essential oils is just perfect for a deeply relaxing massage, where your troubles will simply float away. Elemis use only the finest quality oils to bring you unrivalled relaxation, though there are a couple of added fragrances and perfumes, too so if you have sensitive skin, proceed with caution
Lavender and chamomile, two of the best-loved ingredients for calming, are key fragrance notes here, with rosewood bringing a duskier base to the scent. Pamper yourself or a partner to indulgent perfection!
Written and researched by Annie Hopkins
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