Massage oil. Do you really need it for a good massage? The short answer is: yes, you absolutely do.
Oil is what will make your massage exceptional.
With a thin, consistent layer of oil coating your partner’s body, each muscle is easy to glide over during your long, sweeping strokes and when you do your deep tissue work with oil on the skin, you don’t risk a friction rash for your partner.
Incorporating massage oil into your back rubs feels amazing for both massagee and massager.
Not to mention, it’s nourishing and conditioning for your skin and, used right, will help foster a deep connection between the two of you.
Here’s everything you need to know before you buy a massage oil.
Oil, Not Lotion.
We use massage oil because lotion absorbs too quickly into the skin. A high grade massage oil, on the other hand, will take longer to sink into your partner’s skin, meaning more hands-on time with them and less mucking around with going back to the bottle.
Lotion is a good option for a small area of the body – for example a hand massage or foot massage are great areas to use a lovely lotion if you have no oil around.
And don’t even think about getting that lube-meets massage oil hybrid that you see on the drugstore shelves. It feels exactly like getting lube rubbed into your shoulders and dries with a sticky residue. Ick, ick, ick. Just nope.
Which Massage Oils to Buy
Our favorite at Melt is any cold-pressed sweet almond oil. It’s cheap to buy, you can get it at most health food stores, drugstores and sometimes even the grocery store. It’s unscented, pure, and creates an amazing consistency on the skin for massage.
Cold pressing refers to the way the oil is extracted from the almonds.
In some commercial oils, the almonds are processed under extreme heat or using chemicals like hexane – a compound also used for glues or for degreasing various items in textile manufacturing. Hexanes are actually toxic and are being phased out due to its long term toxicity. Needless to say, you don’t want this on your skin.
Cold pressed oils on the other hand, help retain all the valuable elements in the oil that help nourish your skin, and are processed without the use of toxic chemicals.
If You’re Allergic to Nuts
Sweet almond oil shouldn’t irritate the skin at all, but for some people with nut allergies, it’s obviously not an option.
In this case, we recommend a cold pressed grapeseed oil or apricot oil. This may be a bit harder to find, but again your health food store should have it.
Where to Buy
Amazon is an easy place to source massage oil, in small quantity, cheap and delivered to your door. If you’re in Australia, or a place where Amazon doesn’t ship to we recommend looking for a health food store.
4oz is enough to get you started and should last through several back rubs. If you give each other one back rub a month, a 4oz bottle should last 6-12 months.
All of the above massage oils we’ve mentioned are what we call carrier oils. They’re a neutral base to use on any skin, with no added scents or essential oils.
Some companies sell pre-blended massage oils, which are essentially a carrier oil – or a combination of a few carrier oils – with a few drops of essential oil thrown in there.
Essential oils are wonderful additions to massage oils, each with their own unique properties.
You can make your own scented oil by adding a few drops of any pure essential oil to your bottle of carrier oil. Be careful, pure essential oils are potent and can irritate some skins. The smell can also either attract or repulse you, depending on personal preferences.
Make sure both you and your partner are happy with the smell before you start mixing it or massaging with it. Also patch test some of your finalised blend on your skin to make sure it doesn’t irritate.
Quite honestly, we prefer non-scented oils when we’re massaging each other. Plus, that way there’s no essential oils to get in the way if your massage turns into a little somethin’-somethin’ later on (wink, wink)
If you are intent on blending with essential oils, we recommend you stick to one oil or pick a premixed essential oil blend rather than mixing your own scents together. It’s actually quite the art to hit on a harmonious balance of fragrance.
Some ideal scents for getting you in a romantic massage mood are: sandalwood (woody, exotic, soothing), rose (the quintessential romance fragrance), vanilla (smells good enough to eat, is an aphrodisiac to boot) or ylang ylang (used a lot due to it’s strong aphrodisiac properties but I personally find it really cloying. Thought I’d include it anyway).
How to Store Massage Oil
Your massage oil should last a long time – particularly if you store it in a cool, dark place away from direct light or heat. Dark or opaque containers are also a great idea for storing massage oils.
You’ll know when your oil has gone off – you can smell it immediately. Fresh oil has almost no smell.