BEST Oils for Self-Massage? (And 3 Oils to NEVER Use)

Bottle of oil with a white background with white flower petals

Self-massage is becoming more and more popular. However, some may encounter challenges in choosing which oils to use and where to apply them. Which massage oils are the best to use?

In general, the best self-massage oils to use are coconut, almond, and grapeseed oil are some of the most commonly used and are considered to be the best oils for massage. It depends on the type of massage, the area of application, and the bio-individuality of the person receiving the massage.

In this article, we will answer which oils are best for self-massage and which oils are best to avoid.

Why These Oils Are Best to Avoid for Self-Massage

When it comes to massage you will learn that not every oil will be a winner. Some stink, or stain, is thick and goopy, and some irritate the skin. These are not desirable qualities that are looked for when it comes to massage oil. The goal for your massage session is to only add tools that will contribute to the therapeutic quality of the massage. Another factor to consider is the price of the massage oil. We don’t want to break the bank on massage oil and we need to avoid wasting money on low-quality oil.

Castor Oil– this oil is commonly used for hair growth and as an addition to oil-cleansing face oil formulations. Even though this oil has beneficial compounds that are good for other applications, it’s not a good oil to use in self-massage. This oil is very thick which makes the ability to spread it very difficult. It also has a drying nature to it that would make the skin become dehydrated. It’s more difficult to find than others and is costly.

Soybean Oil– this is a low-cost oil that is highly processed and you can find it in any grocery store around the world. It’s very thick and difficult to spread. It also has an unfavorable smell that many could find offensive. It would make for an unpleasant massage experience.

Canola Oil– this oil is also highly processed and comes in at a slightly higher price point than soybean oil. It is thick and difficult to spread in massage. The smell can be off-putting to many people. It’s unpleasant to use in massage and isn’t worth putting on your skin.

When it comes to choosing the best massage oil for you, you need to calculate the risks versus benefits. These oils are, in my opinion, not worth the risk.

Worst Self-Massage OilsBest Self-Massage Oils
Castor OilCamellia Seed Oil
Soybean OilGrapeseed Oil
Canola OilAvocado Oil
Jojoba Oil
Coconut Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Keep reading to learn WHY I consider these the BEST Self-Massage Oils

Can You Use Essential Oils for Self-Massage?

The practice of using essential oils in aromatherapy and massage go hand in hand. They are very complementary to each other. Using essential oils in your self-massage is a great way to uplevel the benefits you will receive from self-massage. You may be wondering if you should incorporate essential oils into your self-massage sessions and how to do it. I recommend and use this essential oil set-

Aromatherapy is a practice in and of its own. There are medicinal qualities to the essential oil and certain oils should be used for specific problems or purposes. There are also certain populations where aromatherapy or certain essential oils would be contraindicated and should not be used. It is worthwhile to do some research beforehand to learn if you should or shouldn’t use essential oils and which essential oils you shouldn’t use.

After consulting and determining if aromatherapy essential oils are good for you to use, then bringing them into your self-massage sessions is a good idea. I personally use this set of essential oils to bring about specific results I want to accomplish. Essential oils have been called the “lifeblood” of the plant that it was extracted from. There are different qualities of oils on the market as well.

It’s important to know that there is NO certifying organization that oversees the qualities of the oils that are being sold. The terminology “therapeutic grade” on a bottle doesn’t mean much when it comes to essential oils but it’s better to go with a reputable company to ensure you’re getting good quality essential oil.

How to Use Essential Oils in Massage

There are multiple ways to incorporate essential oils into your self-massage session. It would be a good idea to experiment and see which methods you prefer. Many people like to add essential oils directly to the massage oil or lotion and then apply them to the area being massaged. In general, I tend to steer away from this method of application for essential oils.

Many essential oils are very potent and can irritate the skin. This can lead to burning, itching, exacerbation of psoriasis or eczema, and even dangerous allergic reactions. Know that it can be done but the potential for an allergic reaction is high.

Vaporizer/Diffuser -This is one of my favorite ways to receive the benefits of essential oils. All you do is add the essential oil to the water at the base of the diffuser and it disperses tiny droplets of the essential oil and water into the air. It humidifies the air and performs aromatherapy at the same time. The inhalation of the essential oil allows it to enter your body in an easy yet effective way.

If for some reason you are reacting negatively to the essential oil you can just turn off the diffuser and leave the room. It would be as easy to remove if you had added the essential oil to massage oil and then put it on your skin. I recommend this diffuser from Amazon.

Spray Onto Clothing– Another easy method of essential oil application I use is adding my choice of essential oils to a spray bottle with water, shaking it up, and spraying my clothing, the rope I’m wearing for self-massage, or fabric around me. This gives you the benefits of aromatherapy but reduces the risk of a skin allergic reaction since it’s been applied to cloth that can easily be removed if necessary. It’s also easy to reintroduce the essential oil if it’s become diluted over time just by spraying a few more sprays from the bottle.

This method of application is nice because if you added the essential oil directly to your massage oil but later decided you didn’t like it for some reason you can’t remove it and the oil mixture will need to be discarded and wasted. If you decide you don’t like the smell of the essential oil in the bottle it’s easy to recycle it by adding it to something else you won’t use on your body or giving it to someone else so there’s no waste.

Roll-On Stick– Using a roll-on stick is a convenient way to use essential oils. It allows for portability and precise application. You can purchase an empty roll-on from Amazon or buy a premixed essential oil roll-on that you can repurpose and reuse with your own combination of essential oils after you have used the premixed formula. Using a roll-on is my preferred application method when it comes to applying hot oils used in muscle recovery. It allows you to precisely apply it to the affected area without getting it on areas of the body you don’t want the oil to be.

Here are several ways to incorporate essential oils into your self-massage that minimize waste and risk of allergic reaction. If you know you are allergic to any particular plant, be sure to steer clear of the essential oil of that plant and any essential oil extracted from plants in the same plant family.

The TOP Picks for Self-Massage Oils

These are my top picks for oils to use in self-massage. What I’m looking for in massage oil is its glide, spread-ability, fragrance-free, and slow absorption.

There are certain oils I use for the body and certain oils I use for the face. If the oil has a high comedogenic score I will exclusively use that oil on my body and nowhere near my face. If used on the face it can lead to clogged pores and pimples. I only use an oil with a low comedogenic score on my face.

Let’s get into the list of what I consider to be the BEST self-massage oils and WHY I feel that way.

Best Massage Oils for Self-Massage

Camellia Seed Oil– this oil is my favorite to use for face self-massage. It has a very low comedogenic score making it perfect for anyone who has a problem with acne and clogged pores. It comes from the seed of the green tea plant and it’s full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It soothes irritation and adds moisture without adding a feeling of heaviness. It absorbs into the skin at a good rate for massage and is easy to spread and glide across the face. It will repair damage and prevent new cellular damage from occurring. I personally use this camellia seed oil from Amazon.

Grapeseed Oil– this oil has a really nice glide, minimal scent, and a low comedogenic score making it a great option for both the face and body. It’s also somewhat of an affordable option depending on where you buy it. It’s easy to obtain and a little goes a long way. This oil is rich in Vitamin E and is lightly moisturizing. It’s a good neutral oil to use in self-massage for both the face and body.

Avocado Oil– this is a very popular oil on the market now both in the spa/beauty and food options. Due to this popularity, it’s easier to obtain than it was in previous years. It’s not a cheap oil but it is affordable if you use it wisely. It’s rich in Vitamin E and is moderately moisturizing. I recently tried avocado oil in a self-cupping massage and was pleasantly surprised at how well it performed. It has excellent glide and the ability to spread easily. It also didn’t stay greasy feeling hours after performing the massage.

Jojoba Oil– this oil interestingly isn’t an oil at all but is a completely naturally derived “wax” from the plant. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has antifungal anti-inflammatory properties. It has a low comedogenic rating so it’s a common choice for those with oily acne-prone skin. You need to experiment with this one on the face because when my acne was at its worst jojoba oil only gave me more acne. It has good glide, spread-ability, no scent, and doesn’t make the skin feel greasy. It’s a good option for the face and body for self-massage.

Coconut Oil– this one has always been my go-to for giving a massage. The amount of glide and spread-ability is very customizable depending on how much you apply. It has a minimal scent and the scent that is there is usually a pleasant one to most people. It’s moisturizing without feeling greasy after massage. I DO NOT use this one on the face since it has a very high comedogenic score and has the potential to cause clogged pores. Due to its coming popularity, it’s very easy to find in most stores and online and is an affordable option.

Sweet Almond Oil– this is a very popular oil used for massage. It’s a good massage oil to use on the face and body. It has a low comedogenic score making it good to use on all facial skin types without the risk of clogging pores. It has a low scent, good glide, and spreads easily. It can feel a little greasy after the massage but it’s so nourishing and moisturizing to the skin you may not mind. It’s full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. It’s somewhat easy to buy, found online and in health food stores.

It’s important to pick a massage oil that’s going to be suitable for your skin and possesses the qualities you need in a massage oil. Regardless of how popular or beneficial the oil is, NEVER choose a massage oil extracted from a nut or seed if you are allergic to nuts or seeds. There are plenty of options to choose from that won’t cause an adverse reaction.

Getting your Sef-Massage tool kit together can be a fun way to pamper yourself with items that only bring you benefits and accomplish what you want them to do. Choosing the right self-massage oil is important because it is the tool that enables you to perform the massage with ease and has the potential to bring skin repairing and protecting properties.

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The content in this article is for informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.


I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

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