Most of us know that massages are beneficial to our health and well-being. So, why save this self-care staple for special occasions only? It’s actually easy (and fun) to make your own massage oil at home. And who knows, if you gift someone a homemade massage oil, they may just return the favor and try it out on you.
Why Would You Make Your Own Massage Oil?
If you enjoy massages (and who doesn’t), it can be beneficial to blend your own massage oil. This is what many massage therapists choose to do. Why? Homemade massage oil has the following benefits:
- You have complete control over the ingredients, so you know exactly what’s in it.
- You can customize the oil for sensitive skin or any other skin type.
- You can create a special blend that matches the environment or venue. (For example, you can use cedarwood if you’re giving a massage in a forest setting.)
- You can create a custom blend to match the needs of your client (some essential oils have different properties).
- You may just find that making your own massage oil is fun and satisfying – you can create something truly unique with your favorite scents. You can also give them to friends and family as a custom-made gift.1
The Essential Elements Of A Massage Oil Blend
Creating your own massage oil is really quite simple. You really only need two ingredients: a carrier oil and a combination of essential oils.
Carrier oils are neutral, plant-based oils. They are typically unscented or lightly scented. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils so they can be safely applied to the skin during a massage. They can also be used alone as a massage oil.
If you choose to use a carrier oil as a massage oil on its own (without essential oils), you really don’t need much of a recipe at all. Pick the carrier oil you like best, and there you go. You have your massage oil.
When selecting your carrier oil, keep these things in mind:
- Odor: Some carrier oils have a distinct aroma that should be taken into consideration.
- Skin absorption: Some carrier oils absorb more quickly than others.
- Skin type: Some carrier oils may irritate specific skin types.
- Shelf life: Carrier oils all come with different shelf lives. Consider how long you plan to store the oil when selecting your carrier oil.2
Here are some of the most popular carrier oils and their properties:
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Fractionated coconut oil is a form of coconut oil that stays liquid at room temperature and lower temperatures. It is nourishing, easily absorbed, and it has a long shelf life. Fractionated coconut oil is odorless and tasteless.3,4
Jojoba oil is an odorless liquid plant wax that is commonly used as a massage oil. It may be able to help with irritated skin. Since it absorbs quickly, it is a good choice for oily or greasy skin. Jojoba oil has a long shelf life.5,6
Apricot Kernel Oil
This is a mild oil derived from apricot seeds. It absorbs easily into the skin and has a slightly sweet, nutty scent.7
Argan oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. It can make a great moisturizing carrier oil. However, argan oil can be expensive, and it does have a distinct nutty odor. Because of this, it may not be the right choice for every situation.8
Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is a byproduct of winemaking. It is moisturizing, non-comedogenic, and easily absorbed.9
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is one of the most popular carrier oils for massage and aromatherapy. It has a slightly sweet, nutty aroma. This oil is lightweight and absorbs relatively quickly. It leaves a slight hint of oil on the skin. This should not be used with people who have nut allergies.10
After you choose your carrier oil, you may choose to blend in one or more essential oils. Essential oils each come with their own properties. When creating your own blend, it’s useful to take these benefits into account.
Here are some of the most popular essential oils and the benefits often associated with them:
- Lemon: used to cleanse, support healthy digestion, and more.
- Grapefruit Essential Oil: used to support a positive mood and healthy stress levels.
- Peppermint: used to support energy, and help with nausea and sore muscles.
- Lavender: used to help with stress and support skin health.
- Sandalwood: used to support relaxation and focus.
- Ginger: used to support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
- Rose Essential Oil: used to support relaxation and a positive mood.
- Chamomile: used to support a positive mood and restful sleep.
- Geranium Essential Oil: used for its calming effects.
- Bergamot: used to support healthy stress levels, a positive mood, and skin health.
- Ylang-Ylang: used to support libido and help with, nausea, and skin issues.
- Tea Tree: used to support immune function.
- Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus.
- Jasmine: used to support mood and help with menstrual discomfort.11,12,13,14,15
A General, Flexible Recipe For Blending Your Own Massage Oils
Here’s a recipe you can use as a springboard for blending your own creations. This will make a small volume of massage oil, which is useful when you’re still experimenting with oils and scents. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.
- ⅛ cup carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil
- 10-12 drops essential oils; Select oils that complement the goal of your massage.
- Liquid measuring cup
- Dark glass container
- Measure your carrier oil in a measuring cup.
- Add your chosen essential oils.
- Pour the mix into a dark glass bottle and shake well to combine.
- Label your jar with the oils and the date so you know when it’s time to make a new batch.16
Creating Special Blends Of Massage Oils For Specific Benefits
If you are blending a massage oil for a specific purpose, you may want to pay attention to the unique properties of each essential oil. Here are a few ideas for blends with specific benefits:
To warm up the muscles, choose oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, black pepper, nutmeg, and ginger. These oils give off a fresh, clean aroma.17
Essential oils like bergamot, lavender, myrrh, and Roman chamomile might be able to help with sore muscles and tension.
Stress-Relieving And Relaxing Massage
Nothing beats a massage after a long day. To relieve stress, use oils like sweet orange, lavender, valerian, sandalwood, rose, and geranium. This blend would be especially nice when used with a foot massage.
If you want to create a calm, refreshing, and balanced atmosphere, choose herbal, floral, and citrus oils. Clary sage, jasmine, bergamot, ylang-ylang, and grapefruit essential oils would work well for this. This blend can act as an aphrodisiac and may promote sensuality.18
Creating A Massage Oil Based On Aroma
While the benefits of essential oils interest some, other people may only care about the oil’s aroma. There’s nothing wrong with that. Here are some ideas for blending scents that work nicely together:
- Fresh and zingy: grapefruit, ginger, vetiver
- Sweet and light: lavender, chamomile, cardamom, cedarwood, geranium essential oil
- Refreshing and bright: peppermint, rosemary, lemon, sage, juniper
- Woodsy and natural: spruce, juniper, cedarwood, vetiver, bergamot
- Rich and spicy: lavender, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, ylang-ylang19
Always Dilute Essential Oils
When working with essential oils, always dilute them. This is where your carrier oil comes in. Research shows that some essential oils can cause the following problems if applied directly in undiluted form:
- Skin irritation
- Hypersensitivity on contact
- Delayed hypersensitivity
- Photosensitivity (where your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun)20
Keep Allergies In Mind And Do A Skin Patch Test
If someone has an allergy – to nuts or coconuts, for example, they may have a reaction to those ingredients on their skin. It’s best to leave them out. Before you apply your massage oil to anyone’s skin, make sure to do a skin patch test first. To do a skin patch test:
- Apply a small amount of oil to a discrete area, like the inside of your elbow or behind your ear.
- Wait 24 hours.
- Look for signs of redness or irritation.21
If your skin checks out fine, you’re ready to enjoy your new massage oil.
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