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Nothing beats an overwhelming amount of stress like a good massage—don’t you think? And while going to a fancy spa to get pampered is truly luxurious, most of us can’t afford the hefty price tag of going every week. Arguably the best alternative is giving yourself one at home, which is where massage oils come in. Using different techniques—think lymphatic drainage, depuffing, and more—you’ll allow yourself to slip into the ultimate self-care mood and unwind from everyday stressors like work and relationships.
The best part? Utilizing massage in your everyday routine is simple. A full-body massage is great on days when you can truly take time for yourself. But on days when you’re short on time, opt for a scalp massage before your shower. Regardless of what you choose to do, there’s no doubt you’ll feel invigorated and rejuvenated from everyday stressors.
Below, find the best massage oils to truly upgrade your self-care routine.
Best Overall: Elemis De-Stress Massage Oil
Bottle lasts a long time
Leave relationship woes and taxing workdays behind with a few kneads of this rich massage oil. Infused with rosemary and geranium, it’ll provide instant relief and relaxation with just one whiff. But to really garner the full benefits of it, apply three to four drops to your palms and massage into your skin while breathing in the scent. In the end, both your mind and body will feel rejuvenated.
Active Ingredients: Rosewood essential oil, melissa essential oil, marjoram essential oil, geranium essential oil, rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil, chamomile essential oil, sweet almond oil | Size: 3.3 fl. oz. | Dosage: 3 to 4 drops | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Budget: Heritage Store Aura Glow Body Oil
Bottle can leak
Not only does this oil work incredibly well for massage, but also as a moisturizer, tanning oil, post-shave balm, and a bath soak. Made from almond oil, you’ll be left with silky smooth skin every time you slather it on. Plus, it’s under $10.
Active Ingredients: Vitamin E, almond oil | Size: 8 oz., 16 oz., or 64 oz. | Dosage: A few drops | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: SheaMoisture Lavender & Wild Orchid Bath, Body & Massage Oil
Bottle can leak
Hands down, if you’re looking to calm down after a particularly stressful day, this drugstore find is your best bet. Created with an all-natural blend of shea butter, it’ll leave your skin soft and hydrated with each use. However, the best part is that you can use it in the bath on days when you're super short on time. Plus, the fragrant lavender scent smells just like a spa.
Active Ingredients: Organic shea butter, lavender, wild orchid extract | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Splurge: Chanel L’HUILE ROSE Body Massage Oil
Lose yourself in this uber-luxurious rose body oil infused with sunflower oil that’ll nourish, moisturize, and infuse skin with revitalizing properties. To apply, massage the oil onto your body in circular motions for a spa-like experience at home. And, we’d be remiss to mention the scent with hints of rose blossom and white musk over a woody base that smells just like early spring.
Active Ingredients: Helianthus annuus flower oil | Size: 8.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Sore Muscles: MAJESTIC PURE Arnica Sore Muscle Massage Oil
Reduces muscle pain
Give your muscles the break they need after a particularly grueling workout. Using sweet almond oil to hydrate and arnica to reduce pain, this massage oil soothes sore muscles by releasing tension. It’s worth it, trust us.
Active Ingredients: Lavender essential oil, chamomile essential oil | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Dosage: A small amount | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Warming: Weleda Muscle Massage Oil
Looking to up your at-home massage game? Try using this warming muscle massage oil. Apply before a big workout, hike, or eventful day as its infusion of lavender and rosemary essential oils will help prep your muscles for rigorous activity. But it’s also great for everyday usage as its warming effects feel as if you immersed yourself in a warm bubble or steaming sauna.
Active Ingredients: Arnica oil, sunflower oil, olive oil | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Dosage: 3 to 5 drops | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Multipurpose: Saje Mother’s Wellness Massage Oil Blend
Can use in shower
When thinking about what goes into creating the best massage oil, scent, feel, and ease of use come to mind. This Saje massage oil blend aces all of those things—and more. Better yet, it can be used in and out of the shower and has the ability to hydrate your entire body. Dry brush your skin beforehand to garner the full barrage of benefits.
Active Ingredients: Frankincense, tangerine, neroli | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Dosage: 1 to 2 tsp. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Rollerball: Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Oil
Easy to apply
Supports moisture barrier
Trying to squeeze in a quick dose of relaxation during a busy day? Use a rollerball massage oil. Lightweight and plant-based, this silky oil penetrates deeply into your skin so you can truly gain all its benefits on the go. Pop it into your bag and use it whenever you need a moment of relaxation. For maximum benefits, apply it right to your pressure points—like your temples or jawline—and massage for a few seconds.
Active Ingredients: Avocado oil, jojoba oil, CBD | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Anti-Aging: M3 Naturals Anti Cellulite Massage Oil Infused
Results aren't drastic
Who says massage oils can’t help prevent aging? Not this M3 Oil. With important ingredients like grapefruit oil and lemon oil, it’ll reduce the appearance of cellulite, promote elasticity. It’ll also help protect your skin’s stem cells with its helpful addition of apple stem cells. All in all, you’ll get tons of benefits from this one bottle.
Active Ingredients: Collagen, stem cell, grapeseed oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, grapefruit oil | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Dosage: A liberal amount | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Organic: Viva Naturals Organic Massage Oil
All you need are a few drops of this oil to really experience all it has to offer. Built with natural oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil, it’ll glide on smoothly and feel soft against your skin. Plus, its all-natural ingredients won’t have you questioning what’s being absorbed into your skin.
Active Ingredients: Organic jojoba oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Dosage: 1 to 2 pumps | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best CBD: Ellis Brooklyn Marvelous CBD Massage and Body Oil
This soothing body oil combines a duo that packs a punch—CBD and pine bark extract—to leave you fully restored with each use. Housed in a glass bottle with a gold top, it’s pretty enough to be displayed on your vanity for a massage whenever you need it. One reviewer mentions that it was the only remedy that reduced their achiness and pain after surgery.
Active Ingredients: Full-spectrum CBD, maritime pine bark extract, sweet almond oil | Size: 0.27 oz. or 1 oz. | Dosage: Apply to body as desired | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy Associates Relax Body Oil
Combining chamomile, vetivert, and ylang-ylang, this body oil easily absorbs for immediate results that encourage a peaceful night’s sleep and aid in relaxation, according to the brand. Use before the shower to prevent dry skin or after for a nourishing ritual. Bonus: it’ll also leave your skin deeply hydrated and super smooth.
Active Ingredients: Vetiver, camomile, Madagascan ylang ylang | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Dosage: A couple of drops | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Massage oils are a great way to reduce stress and incorporate some much-needed self-care into your routine. At the top of our list is the Elemis De-Stress Massage Oil (view at Amazon), as it provides instant relief from everyday stress with its rich, aromatic consistency and formula. For sore muscles, Majestic Pure Arnica Sore Muscle Massage Oil (view at Amazon) is your best bet. Its combination of sweet almond oil and arnica will soothe sore muscles by reducing tension. For a splurge-worthy experience, Chanel L’HUILE ROSE Body Massage Oil (view at Chanel) is worth its price tag for a spa-like experience at home with each use.
What to Look for in a Massage Oil
Because the massage medium is absorbed by your skin (the largest organ in our bodies), explains Stacy Stevens, Massage Envy Technical Trainer, being aware of what ingredients are in the oil is crucial. “You may want to consider any allergies, how often you will use the massage oil, and other skin benefits you may like to receive from using the massage oil.”
Consider what type of massage you plan to do. If you plan to give yourself a massage with more pressure, you’ll want to use an oil blend that allows for more grip to really deep into the muscle, explains Stevens. Whereas for a massage that requires more glide, you’ll want something that moves smoothly.
Rate of Absorption
Along the same lines as viscosity, the rate of absorption is a significant factor in your decision, says Stevens. “You don’t want the oil to be absorbed into the skin too fast, resulting in applying a lot of product.”
What does massage oil do?
Oil is a tool for a massage, explains Stevens. “It creates a glide between the skin and the hands to allow for a smoother, flowing massage.”
How do you apply massage oil?
“Less is more!” It’s much easier to add more than to remove the oil, so start with just a few drops or pumps, explains Stevens.
How do you remove stains from massage oil?
Removing stains from massage oil can be quite difficult, so it’s better to apply less (to avoid excess) and wear an older towel when applying. However, to remove, a bit of baking soda and water should do the trick.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. While she mainly writes about beauty, she covers wellness and lifestyle, too, and has interviewed experts in all three industries. With everyday stressors of life, she has been on the hunt for new ways to remedy stress—and at-home massages are an incredible remedy.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough massage oils from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
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