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The best massage oils for relaxing, therapeutic and sensual massages

From easing sore muscles to more intimate moments, we’ve picked out the very best massage oils

Everyone loves a massage, but not everyone can afford a professional massage on a regular basis. The best massage oils let you take matters into your own hands, literally.

Whether it’s part of a self-love ritual or enjoyed with a partner, a massage is a great way to stimulate and pamper your body. From gentle, relaxing strokes to more intense kneading movements, massaging the muscles helps to stimulate blood flow and circulation. And after a long day at work, a good massage can often help to lift your mood and improve your overall wellbeing.

Whatever you want out of your massage, we’ve featured some of our favourite massage oils in our roundup below, alongside a short buying guide, advising you on what to look out for when shopping for massage oils.

Best massage oils: At a glance

How to choose the best massage oils for you

What should I look for in a massage oil?

Not all massages are alike and, as such, there are different oils for different occasions – whether you’re after a deep tissue massage or you would like to enjoy a more intimate moment with your partner. If you’re looking to ease sore muscles, you might want to look for a product that provides heat or a warming sensation when applied to the skin, as heat is known to provide pain relief to tense muscles.

If you would like to enjoy a massage with aromatherapy, then look for a product that contains essential oils. Alternatively, you could buy a carrier oil (or base oil), to which you can add essential oils to make your own aromatherapy blends. Good examples of carrier oils are almond oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil. This is important because essential oils are too strong to apply directly to the skin. What’s more, making your own blends can be a lot of fun: all you need to do is add a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil to your carrier oil of choice and you’re good to go. Lavender is commonly used for relaxation and to improve sleep. Tea tree oil is reported to help with skin irritations, and rosemary essential oil is said to help with scalp health and hair growth. Citronella, on the other hand, is a renowned insect repellent, so this might be a good choice if you’re prone to insect bites.

If you prefer to keep things simple, you can use coconut oil on its own: it’s versatile and is fantastic at relieving skin irritation after shaving.

For sensual couple’s massages, you could indulge in a scented massage candle that heats up the oil before applying it to the skin. You should not use a wax candle for this purpose. And for more intimate massages, you might want to use a water-based gel that will double up as a lube. This is because oils can easily break latex condoms.

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How much should I spend?

How much you spend on a massage oil obviously depends in part on how often you intend to use it.

If you’re using coconut oil, it’s worth investing in a quality one, given how versatile it is: in addition to massage, you can use it for hair care, makeup removal and to soothe your skin after shaving. Our chosen coconut oil below will set you back £20.

If you’re an aromatherapy enthusiast, buying an oil that already contains essential oils is the most affordable option. Buying a carrier oil such as almond, coconut or jojoba oil before adding your own essential oils separately isn’t the cheapest option, as each essential oil can cost an extra £5-£15, depending on its quality. However, just a few drops of essential oil can go a long way. It’s also a much more versatile option when it comes to making different aromatherapy blends.

And if you’re buying a massage candle as a romantic gift, or for use on special occasions with a special someone, it’s probably worth spending a little bit more. Our favourite massage candle below, for instance, costs £29.

With that said, read on for our pick of the best massage oils.

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The best massage oils to buy in 2023

1. Durex Massage Lube: Best for intimate massages with a partner

Price: £8.79 | Buy now from Durex

A sensual massage can be a great way to enjoy an intimate moment with a partner as part of foreplay. If you’re open to the idea of one thing leading to another, then this massage gel is ideal as it doubles up as a personal lubricant. The gentle water-based formula contains aloe vera, and can be used for body massage as well as a lubricant for oral, vaginal and anal sex.

It’s compatible with latex condoms and with silicone sex toys. It’s non-greasy, fragrance-free and washes off easily. The bottle is also 100% recyclable and is made from recycled plastic.

Key features – Size: 200ml; Key ingredients: Aqua, propylene glycol, hydroxyethyl cellulose, benzoic acid, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium saccharin, sodium hydroxide; Scent: None

Buy now from Durex

2. Deep Heat Muscle Massage roll-on lotion: Best for easing tight muscles

Price: £5.29 | Buy now from Boots

If you’re looking for relief for sore or tight muscles, this Deep Heat massage lotion is perfect. When applied to problem areas, its warming relief can help ease tight, knotted muscles, and it’s easy to apply thanks to the rollerball design.

Heat increases blood flow to the affected area and helps to loosen and soften muscles, helping to restore movement. It can be used every day to ease and release knots in your shoulders or your back. You can also use it before and after exercise to help reduce muscle stiffness.

Key features – Size: 50ml; Key ingredients: Propylene glycol, dimethicone, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, paraffinum liquidum, sorbitan stearate, rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil, vanillyl butyl ether, phenoxyethanol, sodium lauryl sulphate, limonene, linalool; Scent: Herbal blend

Buy now from Boots

3. Aromatika Fractionated Coconut Oil: The most versatile oil

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

This high-quality fractionated coconut oil is great for people looking for pure and natural ingredients. It can be used for all-over body massages, either in its natural state, or as a carrier oil for your chosen essential oils. Since essential oils are so potent, they must be diluted by adding a few drops to the carrier oil before being applied to the skin.

In addition to being used as a massage oil, it can be applied to the skin after shaving to help prevent itchiness and razor bumps, leaving you with smooth, glowing skin. And when used on hair, fractionated coconut oil helps to improve scalp health and support hair growth, while adding volume and shine.

Key features – Size: 473ml; Key ingredients: 100% pure fractionated coconut oil; Scent: Coconut

4. Tisserand Aromatherapy Sleep Better Massage & Body Oil: Best for aromatherapy

Price: £11 | Buy now from Boots

If you find it difficult to relax your mind at bedtime, an aromatherapy oil can help you switch off. Sleep Better Massage & Body Oil combines natural essential oils including lavender, sandalwood and jasmine. It’s designed to leave your skin feeling soft and moisturised, while also helping you to fall asleep.

Tisserand recommends you use this oil at night, after a bath or a shower, by warming it between your hands before massaging it into the skin.

Key features – Size: 100ml; Key ingredients: Sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, simmondsia, chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil; Scent: Lavender, sandalwood and jasmine

Buy now from Boots

5. LELO Flickering Touch Massage Candle: The most sensual massage oil

Price: £29 | Buy now from LELO

A massage candle is perfect for sensual massages with a partner. You can use it to create a soft light, enjoying the gentle aroma until it melts into massage oil. Made from all-natural soy wax, shea butter and apricot kernel oil, this is a long-lasting oil that absorbs into the skin during massage.

The LELO Flickering Touch massage candle comes available in 3 aromas – Vanilla & Crème De Cacao, Snow Pear & Cedarwood, and Black Pepper & Pomegranate – and it will burn for up to 36 hours. While it is intended for intimate moments, it is not compatible with latex condoms or sex toys. And although this should go without saying, it’s advised that you blow the flame out before you pour the wax.

Key features – Size: 150g; Key ingredients: Soy wax, shea butter and apricot kernel oil; Scent: Vanilla & Crème De Cacao, Snow Pear & Cedarwood, and Black Pepper & Pomegranate
Buy now from LELO

Venus O’Hara is an internationally renowned sexual wellness and lifestyle content creator. She likes to present the topic of sexuality as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. She has reviewed and designed hundreds of sexual wellness devices. In addition, she is always looking out for the most natural beauty products and she is passionate about healthy living. You can follow Venus on Twitter and Instagram.

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