Massage Oil: Getting it right for Your Skin Type

Massage Oil: Getting it right for Your Skin Type

Despite the complexities of our skin, it has broadly been accepted that there are five commonly accepted types: normal, sensitive, dry, oily and combination.
Therefore, when choosing massage oil, knowing the skin type on which it is being applied is essential.
Below is a guide with recommended oils for each of the five skin types and those which should really be avoided. Don’t be put off by some oils appearing under multiple skin types, these oils are simply very versatile.

Skin Type: Normal

Lucky You! You have no major problems with your skin. You rarely have acne and you skin is elastic without being saggy and your skin isn’t prone to flaking.

massage oils for normal skinBest Massage Oils for Normal Skin:

  • Cocoa Butter: This is a great moisturizer that is easily absorbed into the skin. It leaves a fine film that functions as a shield between the skin and many external toxins.
  • Evening Primrose: This is not to be used on its own, but can be added to other oils. Good for all skin types. Evening Primrose helps to rejuvenate skin cells, so is a good oil to use for maintaining skin, especially as it ages.
  • Grapeseed Oil: This is a good alternative to Almond Oil for individuals with nut allergies. It is non-greasy and contains Vitamin E, a nutrient that promotes healthy skin.
  • Kukui Nut Oil: A non-greasy oil, good for all skin types.
  • Soy Oil: A good alternative to Almond Oil for individuals with nut allergies. Soy is good for all skin types, and is virtually odorless.
  • Sunflower Oil: A non-greasy oil that will not leave a greasy feeling. Good for most skin types.
  • Sweet Almond Oil: Good for all skin types. Contains Vitamin D, a healthy nutrient for skin. Do not use if you have nut allergies.

Oil to avoid if you have Normal Skin:

  • Mineral Oil: A petroleum by-product that dries skin.

Skin Type: Dry

Dry skin can often be a temporary condition that only affects some people in winter, but for others it may be a lifelong condition. Environment and diet can affect dry skin considerably.
Dry skin symptoms may include: Skin tightness, especially after showering or bathing, roughness, flaky patches, itching, fine lines or cracks or deep cracks that bleed.

dry_skin_oilsBest Massage Oils for Dry Skin:

  • Avocado Oil: A heavy oil that rehydrates skin. Avocado is full of useful skin-nutrients and is good for repairing damaged skin. Do not use if you have latex allergies!
  • Apricot Kernel Oil: A great alternative to Almond Oil for those with nut allergies. Contains Vitamin E, absorbs quickly and rehydrates skin.
  • Calendula Oil: A good oil for very dry skin, especially recommended during winter months, when skin is likely to be particularly dry.
  • Evening Primrose Oil: This is not to be used on its own, but it can be added to other oils. Good for all skin types. Evening Primrose oil helps to rejuvenate skin cells, so it’s especially good for skin that is very dry or has been overexposed to the suns rays. Also great for ageing skin.
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil: A non-greasy oil that is especially good for dry skin, which is so dry it has cracked.
  • Jojoba Oil: This is a wax, not oil. Despite this, it’s quickly absorbed, and good for dry skin. Jojoba oil has properties that are very close to the body’s own natural moisturizers, so it helps skin heal naturally.
  • Olive Oil: A heavy, greasy oil that really penetrates and rehydrates dry skin.
  • Sesame Oil: A greasy oil, traditionally used in Ayurvedic massage treatments and is good for dry skin.
  • Sweet Almond Oil: A very common light massage oil that is non-irritating, full of Vitamin D, and absorbs quickly to rehydrate skin. Do not use if you have nut allergies.

Oil to avoid if you have Dry Skin:

  • Mineral Oil: A petroleum by-product that dries skin.

Skin Type: Combination

You are sometimes prone to breakouts, especially on the forehead and nose, but not usually on the cheeks. If you place a tissue over the skin of your nose, a bit of oil will soak into it. Nose and forehead may sometimes be “shiny.”

combination_skin_oilsBest Massage Oils for Combination Skin:

  • Apricot Kernel Oil: A great alternative to Almond Oil for those with nut allergies. Contains Vitamin E, absorbs quickly and rehydrates skin.
  • Evening Primrose: This is not to be used on its own, but can be added to other oils. Good for all skin types. Evening Primrose helps to rejuvenate skin cells, so is a good oil to use for maintaining skin, especially as it ages.
  • Jojoba Oil: This is a wax, not oil. Despite this, it’s quickly absorbed, and good for dry skin. Jojoba oil has properties that are very close to the body’s own natural moisturizers, so it helps skin heal naturally.
  • Kukui Nut Oil: A non-greasy oil, good for all skin types.
  • Soy Oil: A good alternative to Almond Oil for individuals with nut allergies. Soy is good for all skin types, and is virtually odorless.
  • Sunflower Oil: A non-greasy oil that will not leave a greasy feeling. Good for most skin types.
  • Wheat Germ Oil: This is a heavy oil that is usually mixed with lighter oils. It is high in Vitamin E and is good for healing scar tissue, including that caused by acne. Avoid if you have wheat allergies.

Oils to avoid if you have Combination Skin:

  • Grapeseed Oil: This oil is a very good moisturizer. Perhaps too good if parts of your skin are naturally oily.
  • Lanolin: This is actually a wax, not an oil, but is best used on dry skin rather than oily skin.
  • Mineral Oil: This is a petroleum by-product common in many cosmetic products. It dries skin, but not in a beneficial way. It can dry skin and is likely to cause irritation.
  • Olive Oil: This is a heavy, greasy oil that may cause breakouts.

Skin Type: Sensitive

You are often negatively affected by cosmetic products. You are prone to stinging, chaffing, itching, redness and other skin discomforts.
Note: if you have sensitive skin, always do a patch test before using a new product, to avoid large-scale irritation.

sensitive_skin_oilsBest Massage Oils for Sensitive Skin:

  • Apricot Kernel Oil: This is a non-irritating oil full of Vitamin E and may help soothe skin inflammations.
  • Calendula Oil: This is one of the best oils for healing skin irritations, making it a great choice for use on sensitive skin.
  • Jojoba Oil: This is actually a wax, not oil. Despite this, it’s quickly absorbed, and good for dry skin. It is non-irritating, making it a good choice for sensitive skin. Jojoba has properties that are very close to the body’s natural moisturizing system, so it can help skin heal naturally.

Equally good for sensitive skin, but do a patch test if you’re unsure!

  • Evening Primrose: This is not to be used on its own, but can be added to other oils. Good for all skin types. Evening Primrose helps to rejuvenate skin cells, so is a good oil to use for maintaining skin, especially as it ages.
  • Sesame Oil: A greasy oil, traditionally used in Ayurvedic massage treatments and is good for dry skin.
  • Soy Oil: A good alternative to Almond Oil for individuals with nut allergies. Soy is good for all skin types, and is virtually odorless.
  • Sweet Almond Oil: Good for all skin types. Contains Vitamin D, a healthy nutrient for skin. Do not use if you have nut allergies.


Oils to avoid if you have Sensitive Skin:

  • Cocoa Butter: Has been known to cause irritation in some individuals.
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil: May irritate sensitive skin.
  • Mineral Oil: A petroleum by-product that dries skin and can cause irritation.

Skin Type: Oily

You are prone to breakouts, especially on the forehead, nose and cheeks. If you place a tissue over the skin of your nose, a bit of oil will soak into it. Your face is sometimes “shiny.”

oily_skin_oilsBest Massage Oils for Oily Skin:

  • Apricot Kernel Oil: A great alternative to Almond Oil for those with nut allergies. Contains Vitamin E, absorbs quickly and rehydrates skin.
  • Evening Primrose: This is not to be used on its own, but can be added to other oils. Good for all skin types. Evening Primrose helps to rejuvenate skin cells, so is a good oil to use for maintaining skin, especially as it ages.
  • Jojoba Oil: This is a wax, not oil. Despite this, it’s quickly absorbed, and good for dry skin. Jojoba oil has properties that are very close to the body’s own natural moisturizers, so it helps skin heal naturally.
  • Kukui Nut Oil: A non-greasy oil, good for all skin types.
  • Soy Oil: A good alternative to Almond Oil for individuals with nut allergies. Soy is good for all skin types, and is virtually odorless.
  • Sunflower Oil: A non-greasy oil that will not leave a greasy feeling. Good for most skin types.
  • Wheat Germ Oil: This is a heavy oil that is usually mixed with lighter oils. It is high in Vitamin E and is good for healing scar tissue, including that caused by acne. Avoid if you have wheat allergies.

Oils to avoid if you have Oily Skin:

  • Grapeseed Oil: This oil is a very good moisturizer. Perhaps too good if you already have oily skin.
  • Lanolin: This is actually a wax, not an oil, but is best used on dry skin rather than oily skin.
  • Mineral Oil: This is a petroleum by-product common in many cosmetic products. It dries skin, but not in a beneficial way. It can dry skin and is likely to cause irritation.
  • Olive Oil: This is a heavy, greasy oil that may cause breakouts.

Buying Massage Oils

Massage oils are widely available in health food stores, spa shops or specialty skin care shops. Before committing to buy, check that the oil contains only the ingredients you desire. With essential oils, you really do get what you pay for!
You may also consider buying a base oil and mixing up your own massage oil based on your own specific skin type.
Good quality base massage oil can be used on its own as a simple fragrance free massage oil. Alternatively, by adding any essential oils to this base, it’s possible to create your own personal fragrant massage blend.

Whichever oils you choose, be very selective in your choices and try to go for the best quality oils you can buy.

Would you like the ultimate facial massage, given by the person who knows your face best (That would be you!), then go take a look at our ultimate facial massage course.

Good luck and happy massaging!

Why not take a look at some of our great value ebooks in our fantastic eBookstore

Author: Alex Marsh

Share This Post On