Best Oils For a Massage Are Plant-Based

Best Oils For a Massage Are Plant-Based

Beyond doubt, the best oils for a massage are plant-based.

Oils that are cold-pressed have the most nutritional benefits, and they protect the dermis and hydrate the skin.

Benefits of Plant-Based Oils Are;

  • prevention and maintenance of ageing skin,
  • antioxidant,
  • anti-bacterial,
  • anti-microbial,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • skin barrier repair and balancing.

These oils tend to be on the expensive side, especially the virgin, organic and cold-pressed oils, which are the 3 qualities to examine when looking for pure oil.

The fresher the oil the more nourishing, and nowadays many people are also expelling their own raw organic oil.

When you select oils for a massage, these are the factors you should look into.

First you need to determine where you are going to use the oils, such as:

Keep reading to learn more about different plant oils; their properties, benefits and uses.

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12 Plant-Based Massage Oils – Quick List


Two of the most frequently used oils in Ayurveda (the ancient Indian medicine) are COCONUT OIL and SESAME OIL.

Both the coconut and sesame oil can be used internally and externally on the body, as they are very beneficial to our health, and can practically be used as base oil by everybody and on anybody, without any harm (unless one is allergic).

Ayurveda believes body and mind are unique and different to every individual, and the oils used for massages have to be suited to the individual´s body type (called dosha), as the need for nutrients also varies with every person.


Pure Virgin Coconut Oil has a nice and intense smell of coconut (unlike other compound oil you find off the shelf). It is liquid transparent in warm temperature and becomes solid white in colder temperature.

In Ayurveda, coconut oil is used as base oil when preparing medicated oil (mixed with precooked herbs), usually recommended for the Pitta dosha body type, as it has a cooling effect. The pitta dosha type, being the symbol of fire and heat, tends to feel hot most of the time.

Coconut oil extends nicely and is absorbed quickly on the skin, thus, if used on its own without blending, then a small splash of oil is sufficient to cover an area such as the back.

Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids, and full of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.


Sesame oil is also commonly used in Ayurveda as carrier oil; and it is also used as base oil for cosmetic products.

Sesame oil has a golden colour, and a lighter pale-yellow tone when cold-pressed. The smell of sesame is strong.

The sesame oil derived from the seeds is high in antioxidants and has soothing properties. It is excellent to use for self-massage. Self Abhyanga massage is beneficial before going to bed, as it helps you unwind and have a restful sleep.

In Ayurveda Sesame oil is recommended for the Vata & Kapha dosha body type, as it has a warming effect and these two doshas are usually always feeling cold.

  • Calms your skin in massage
  • Use for oil pulling
  • Use as moisturiser



Ashwagandha Oil  This is a combination of oil, usually Sesame oil mixed with the Ashwagandha root. Ashwagandha oil is known to relieve anxiety and stress and is a great sleep aid. You can use the massage oil for an all-over body massage, to relax aching muscles and relieve pain or simply to unwind after a hectic day.

  • Sesame based oil
  • Great for lower back pain
  • Calming for the nerves


These are the three main oils used in Ayurveda made specifically for each body type. All 3 oils are a mix of a base oil, usually sesame or coconut for the Pitta type, and a variety of infused herbs.

Vata Oil is ideal for normal to dry skin type and is a calming on the nervous system.

  • Sesame based oil
  • To unwind. Use for massage
  • Moisturises dehydrated skin

Pitta Oil is ideal for warmer, normal and sensitive skin type and is soothing on skin irritations, swellings or peelings.

  • Sesame based oil
  • Cooling oil
  • Ideal for sensitive skin

Kapha Oil is ideal for oily skin and it is reinvigorating.

  • Sesame based oil
  • Revitalising oil
  • Warming oil

MASSAGE OIL FOR HOME-USE – For Your Beauty & Care

The choice of massage oils for personal use depends very much on your liking and the smell you FANCY most. Other things to consider are your SKIN TYPE and the frequency of use.

So long as you use the same type of oil, you can buy larger bottles.

However, if you prefer to apply various types of oils, then it is best to buy smaller bottles. Home expelled oils are purer but they have a shorter shelf life (usually 9-12 months, depending on the oil type).

Many women prefer to mix drops of essential oils with a base carrier oil. Here are some base oils you can use;



Ground almond oil is an all times popular oil used since ancient times, and it is widely used in the West today. It is anti-inflammatory and has immune boosting properties besides other health benefits. It is known to improve complexion and skin tone.

  • Use as a face oil
  • Use to remove makeup
  • Use as a carrier oil



Cold pressed virgin olive oil should never be used in cooking as it looses its properties (ideally use in salads). However, it is a good carrier oil if you wish to experiment mixing your own massage oils.

Olive oil has abundant antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.

  • Use for massage
  • Use for soap making
  • Moisturising




Rose oil (extracted from the rose petals) and Rose hip oil (sourced from the seed of the rose bush) are luxurious oils which are beneficial for all skin types as general skin care. Mostly popular with mature, dry and sensitive skin.

JUST IMAGINE; almost 30 roses are required to make just one drop of oil, and that is why pure rose or rosehip oil is usually high-priced.
Rose oil is rich in vitamin C, thus it has many positive qualities like moisturising, cleansing and also scar-reducing. The oil helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles, stimulate cells and regenerate and repair tissues.

  • Reduces scars
  • For dry and sensitive skin
  • Luxury oil. Improves skin texture



  • Soothes the skin
  • Softens the skin
  • Nourishing and anti oxidant

Pomegranate oil is a rich source of fatty acids, it is highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This oil may help you reduce acne, eczema, and other skin conditions. The oil improves the skin elasticity and is recommended for anti ageing. Pomegranate oil may also lessen pigmentation and scars.


When selecting massage oils for professional use, in massage spas, you have to take into consideration the shelf life of the oil, as well as the quality and best value for money.

If pure and expensive oils are utilised this has to be compensated and the massage rates will be higher.

Some reasonably good massage oils that are commonly used in massage parlours are;



Rich in essential omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin-E. In Morocco, it is a most beloved oil, synonym with beauty, and is commonly used in Hammams (the local traditional bath).

Argan oil is a luxurious anti-ageing oil, perfect to reduce fine lines, enhance skin elasticity and hydrate dry skin tones.

  • Rich in Vitamin E. Good for nails, skin and hair
  • Ideal for dry scalp
  • Good for curly hair


Already described above, almond oil is also ideal for professional massage.



Jojoba oil is one of the most commonly used oils in salons and in beauty products. It is anti-inflammatory and has been used for skin ageing, skin infections and a variety of other skin conditions.

A Thousand Benefits from Plant Oils

As you may have gathered, the use of plant based oils is not only limited to a source of self-love when you are extending the oil onto your skin; at the same time you are achieving a lot of health benefits.

I hope you have enjoyed this information and you will find it useful.

My favourite oils are coconut, sesame and rose hip oils. I still have to discover the pomegranate oil which seems promising (I have been experimenting with pomegranate tea lately and I love it).

Let me know what is your favourite oil and why?

Sources: The Uses and Properties of Almond Oil Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils Pomegranate Seed Oil: A Comprehensive Review on its Therapeutic Effects


22 thoughts on “Best Oils For a Massage Are Plant-Based

  1. Thanks a lot for summarizing such an amazing review. I didn’t know that for massage the best oils are from plants based.

    I’m a gym lover for 6 years. Because of this i need almost everyday a massage to my muscles to avoid injuries and have a better recovery. I think Almond oil can be the best choice for me. The anti-inflammatory proprieties helps me to recover my muscles and i observed that my sleep is very restful.

    Best wishes and good luck. You made me very curious and i will surely come back to read you articles.

    1. Hi and thank you for writing. Almond oil is good to use as base oil, but for a more relaxing experience I suggest you add a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus. A good alternative would be the medicated Ayurveda oil called Ashwagandha. It is ideal for sore muscles. Glad you have enjoyed this post. 

  2. Hi, 

    I’ve been using plant based oils for years now and would never go back. Having experienced a very bad allergic reaction to a certain brand of synthetic oil, I thought I would never be able to use massage oil again. Fortunately, my dermatologist put me onto virgin plant based oils and I had a much more positive experience. 

    You are right that the cost for plant based oils is quite a bit higher, but when you’re using the oil on your body, cost should not be the deciding factor. 

    Thanks for this informative article 


    1. Hi Marketa, thank you for sharing your experience with plant based oils. I love them too and like you, I don´t mind spending more for a good product. Cheers 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for giving us such an article,Oil is a very important ingredient for messaging in our body. I use some special oils to message my body skin. Notable among them is Olive Oil. I can see that your article gives a very good idea about this oil. As a result of using the oil, I am feeling much better in my skin. I have been using this oil for 3 years

    1. Hi, I´m glad you do like massage and oils. Whenever I spill a bit of olive oil I have learned to rub it into my hands, and I like the feel of it, so I can understand your liking for olive oil. 

  4. Thanks for sharing your informative article. I get enough idea about message oil. Message oil is essential thing of our life. It is a part of our life for after 30 age. I carry message oil any time in my bags. Coconut oil is very useful to me which is made by me.

    1. Hello and thank you for writing. Oh that is so nice that you make your own coconut oil. I practically use it for all over my body and also for oil pulling. 

  5. Hey Marisa, nice post I enjoyed reading about the best oils for a massage (love the fact they are plant based). I wish I could get professional massages more often but I can still step up my efforts at home. Do you think any of the massage oils you wrote about in your blog are helpful with anxiety? Thx xoxo

    1. Hi, thank you for the nice comment. I suggest you rub your feet as in reflexology, with sesame oil before you go to sleep. It is calming and will relax you and help you have a peaceful night sleep. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil. 

      Another interesting oil is the medicated oil from Ayurveda, the Vata Oil. This is mixed with herbs that will pacify and strengthen your nervous system. Have a restful evening. 

  6. hello there thanks for this awesome article as it would be of great help to the public because I know of us that go to massage therapy houses we only know the kind of oil that is used in massaging our body. As for me I like the coconut oil because of the greasy feeling it has and also the coconut scent.

    1. Hi Nelson, Coconut oil is also one of my favourites and I love the smell lots. Thank you for writing. Have a good evening. 

  7. Hello there I am a big fan of massages as it is one of the best ways to relax and get your muscles and skin tuned .I have used a lot of oils that are plant based especially the coconut oil  and sesame oil, they are the best when it comes to massage therapy and I think everyone should try them out

    1. Hi David, I can´t agree with you more. Good oils can work wonders on our skin. Thank you for sharing your experience with using oils. 

  8. I didn’t know women put so much effort into keeping their skin from aging. Do these work on men too? I noticed the title said for women. Is there something in a women’s skin that would make it only work in women, or would I be able to try These products out for myself? I do really like messages and would be interested in trying out some of the ones you recommend if they work on men. 

    1. Oh sure they do. The oils are for everybody. I get that asked many times. Perhaps I should consider changing the title to both men & women as there´s really no difference when it comes to using natural products. Go ahead and use them and do let me know which oil is your favourite. Thank you for writing. 

  9. Hey Marisa, Your article is very informative. I like coconut oil. There are so many benefits using this oil. I use it for my skin, and for frying. The smell attracts many people 🙂 Probably next to it will be jojoba oil. I use both as base oils in my cream.  

    People spend so much money on “miracle” creams with little success stories. Plant oils that are cold pressed are the best!  Our Skin will love it and thank us for it. Also we avoid all these harmful ingredients which is a big bonus. 

    For a change, I will try Vata Oil, Pitta Oil or Kapha Oil next time.

  10. Hi Marisa, 

    What an absolutely wonderful article on oils of all sorts for everything from eating to applying and massages. This is easily one the better and comprehensive posts I have read about oils and their health properties. It’s a great read for people like me who believe in the curing elements in oils. Your references to Ayurveda were educative and it was interesting to learn that sesame and coconut are the oils most discussed and used in Ayurvedic medicine. 

    Thank u for a great post.


  11. Hello there, Thanks for sharing this awesome article I know it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.BANYAN BOTANICALS SESAME OIL is one of the best I have used although I have used countless amounts of oils as once I worked as a massaue…

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