Make your own massage blends

Make your own massage blends

Various massage oil blends exist on the market, combining different oils with varying properties depending on the vitamins, proteins and minerals they contain. It is, however, not complicated to make your own once you understand the properties of individual oils.

Often called base or carrier oils (because they are used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin: they “carry”  the essential oils onto the skin), they are used extensively in massage and aromatherapy as well as to make beauty preparations.

They are highly effective moisturisers and provide many of the nutrients that the skin needs to keep it smooth and supple.

Below is a list of some the more common carrier oils used in massage. Some are fine used on their own, others need to be blended with other oils because too thick otherwise. Adding essential oils is optional.

I’ll give you some simple blends in a later post.

Sunflower oil (helianthus annuus)sunflower

This is one of the most popular carrier oils and easily available. Together with grapeseed oil, it is the one I use most in massage. It doesn’t need to be blended with other oils, it is light and easily absorbed but allows for good “slide” in massage. It contains proteins, minerals and is particularly rich in vitamin E. It has an excellent shelf life. It is a great base for making infused oils (see my earlier blog on infusing oil).  Organic sunflower oil is easy to find in the supermarket, and it is  inexpensive (4.04€/l, organic, around 2€/l non-organic) and odourless.

 

 

Grapeseed oil (vitis vinifera)grapeseed

Very fine and clear, this gives a satin-smooth finish without a greasy touch. Slightly astringent, it tightens and tones the skin. It is good for oily skin. Inexpensive (from 4.66€/l non-organic, 12.90/l organic) and odourless.

 

 

 

Sweet almond oil (prunus dulcis)almond

Extracted from the almond kernel, this has soothing, softening propeties. It contains vitamins A, B1, B3, B6 and E and is rich in protein. It is recommended for body massage even in newborn babies. Excellent for dry and/or sensitive skins; Especially good for eczema. Helps relieve itching, sorenes, dryness and inflammation. Very lubricating but not penetrating (which makes it a good massage oil) and protectant. It is a good deal more expensive than the above two (organic 57.50€/l, non-organic 30.10€/l).

 

 

Apricot kernel oil (prunus armeniaca)apricot

Extracted from the apricot kernel, this oil is rich in vitamins E and A and is very nourishing and moisturizing. It is helpful for prematurely aged, sensitive, inflamed, delicate or dry skin. It can be used at 100% strength but normally used at 10-50%. It is especially good for facial treatments. Priced at around 19.90€/l (non-organic) 50€/l (organic), it is more affordable than almond oil.

 

 

 

Avocado oil (persea gratissima)avocado

Extracted from the flesh of the avocado, this oil is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E as well as proteins and fatty acids. It aids regeneration of scarred skin. Very penetrating, it nourishes dry and dehydrated skin, eczema, mature skin and nappy rash. It is a very thick, heavy oil so best blended with others (normally used at 10% dilution). Priced around 29.50€/l (organic).

 

 

 

 

Sesame oil (sesamum indicum)sesame

Sesame oil is a dark-yellow oil, rich in vitamins A and E and minerals. It is one of the most poplular oils in Ayurveda, especially Indian Head massage, as the high concentration of minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorus helps to strengthen, nourish and protect hair. It is good for eczema and psoriasis. It has a strong nutty flavour and scent which may not appeal to everyone in a massage oil. Relatively inexpensive, at around14.20€/l non-organic, 15.90€/l organic.

 

 

Coconut oil (cocus nucifera)coco

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature so needs to be warmed to make it liquid. This is the new “wonder oil”, popping up in beauty recipes everywhere, as well as in cooking (check out HelloNatural). It is a popular oil in Lomi Lomi (Hawaiian) massage as well as Indian Head massage. It is very moisturising and softening on the skin and hair but has a distinctive scent which not everyone may like. It is often infused with Tiare flowers to make monoi oil. It is relatively inexpensive (20€/l organic)

 

Jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis)jojoba

This is not strictly an oil but a wax pressed from the bean of the plant. It has a chemical composition resembling the skin’s serum. It penetrates the skin very rapidly and is very nourishing. Useful in treating acne, eczema, psoriasis and inflamed skin or any sort of dermatitis. It is very thick (and expensive, 59€/l, organic) so use at 10% dilution.

 

Macadamia oil (macadamia temifolia)maca

This contains the highest level of palmitoleic acid of any plant oil. This is found in human sebum among the young but levels drop dramatically in mature skin. It tones and softens aged or dry skin and helps heal wounds. It penetrates quickly. Relatively expensive, though (39.60€/l for organic).

 

 

Prices sourced from online supermarkets in France and Aroma-Zone.

In my next post, I’ll suggest some massage blends and give you some recipes for massage oils. And I’ll tell you how to use essential oils in carrier oils (recommended dosage).

Speak to you soon.

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