When you give or receive a massage, a carrier oil is always used, and one or more types of essential oils may be added to this.
Carrier oil is called this way as they ‘carry’ or dilute essential oils, also called essential oil. These essential oils often cannot be applied directly to the skin and each has their own beneficial effects.
How an oil feels and smells can have a major influence on how you or someone else experiences a massage.
But what types of oils are there and how do you know which one is best to choose?
Below I have described 11 carrier oils that I think are the most well-known and most used oils.
Types of carrier oil
A carrier oil is also called vegetable oil, facial or skin oil and is pressed from the fatty part of the plant. These are usually the seeds, nuts or kernels.
All types of oils fall into two main categories: soft oils or hard oils.
A soft oil is liquid at room temperature and a hard oil is hard and solid at room temperature. A hard oil is also called a butter and is ideal for use in soap or cosmetics because it adds volume to the product.
They are usually neutral in odor and are easily absorbed into the skin.
Each type of oil has its own specific properties and which one you choose also depends on the purpose of the massage, the skin type and personal preference. Because although the scent of a carrier oil is often subtle, not everyone likes the same scent and that can affect the overall experience for the person receiving your massage.
In addition to scent, each oil also has its own absorption rate; very slow, slow, medium, fast or very fast. An oil with a slow absorption is sometimes not even completely absorbed into the skin and leaves the skin greasy, but can be very nice, for example, if you give a massage with long slow massage strokes.
And if someone has very dry skin and you use an oil that is quickly absorbed, you may have to use extra oil several times during your massage, which in turn causes interruptions and can be experienced as less pleasant.
But whatever oil you choose, my advice would be to always use cold-pressed, unprocessed and organic oil. In addition, an oil does not last forever, and you can generally use it for up to a year after you have opened the bottle and if you store the oil in a dark, cool place.
Well-known types of carrier oil
There are many carrier oils. At home, I have a list of 50 types; From the well-known almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and avocado oil to the lesser-known ones such as baobab oil, blackcurrant oil, palm kernel oil and broccoli oil.
Below is a list that you can mainly find in (health food) stores or online.
I mainly use sweet almond oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil, to which I add essential oil or oils. What these are depends on the customer and the reason for a massage.
There is sweet and bitter almond oil. The bitter one is not suitable for massages. Sweet almond oil has a neutral mild scent and is absorbed quickly by the skin, so it does not feel greasy. It is ideal for massage as it is suitable for almost all skin types. It is soothing for sensitive, dry, inflamed and sore skin. And stimulates blood circulation and maintains the elasticity of the skin.
Jojoba oil has a pleasant soft scent and is also absorbed quickly by the skin and penetrates deep into the skin, making it very good for hydration and suitable for people with dry and/or sensitive skin and has a high concentration of vitamin E. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax and not an oil, but it is referred to as such. This oil is also very good for your hair and scalp.
You have to love it in terms of smell and oiliness, because it just smells like coconut and the oil is slowly absorbed by the skin. And it is hard at room temperature. On the other hand, coconut oil has a whole list of good properties, such as antibacterial and helps with pigment spots and inflammation. See also an earlier blog 20 examples you can use coconut oil for.
Avocado oil has a soft nutty scent and, like almond and jojoba oil, is absorbed quickly. It is very suitable for people with dry, sensitive or mature skin and provides very good hydration and improves elasticity. It also soothes the skin and helps soften wrinkles.
Not only wonderful for the kitchen, but also for the skin and for massaging. The scent is pleasant and full, although this is of course personal. It is slowly absorbed by the skin and moisturizes and softens. The oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which helps the skin recover. An ideal oil if you massage with slow deep movements.
Grape seed oil
Perhaps a little less known, but a perfect oil for different types of massages. It helps to slow down the aging process because the oil supports cell renewal. And it balances sebum production. It has a very mild and neutral scent and is quickly absorbed by the skin. This oil also hydrates well and is anti-inflammatory and, in addition to acne, also helps against scars.
Also known from the kitchen, for example delicious with Asian dishes. This oil is also widely used in Ayurvedic massages because it has warming properties. An ideal oil when the weather is cold. It has a somewhat strong characteristic nut odor and is absorbed quickly by the skin. The oil is also used in people with a lot of stress, to relieve tension and improve sleep patterns.
Apricot kernel oil
This oil is quickly absorbed by the skin and has a slightly sweet nutty scent. Apricot kernel oil is full of vitamins and is very suitable for people with sensitive skin and also for babies. It is said to help fade fine lines and wrinkles and can reduce bags and dark circles under the eyes. It is also good to use for your hair. This also makes the ideal oil for facial massage.
This is an oil that is possibly the most affordable in terms of price. It has a neutral odor to essentially no odor and is slowly absorbed by the skin. It is especially suitable for oily skin and the oil contains many vitamins E and F and essential fatty acids. However, this oil is often discouraged by masseurs because it can make your towels smell like a lunch bar.
Argan oil has a mild neutral scent and is absorbed quickly by the skin. The oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids. It is suitable for all skin types and for general skin and hair care; for cuticles, acne treatment, sun protection and would help care for or prevent stretch marks.
Arnica is known as the oil for sore muscles, which you can also use before exercising to prevent muscle pain. It has a fresh floral scent. It also helps if you have bruises. Some people are allergic to Arnica, so if you use it, it is better to test it on a patch of skin first.
Which oil you choose depends on both your own personal preference and the person receiving the massage. The skin type plays a role and what the purpose of the massage is, what wishes someone has or the problems that exist.
Essential oils can be added to contribute to the intended result and general experience; such as relaxation or activation, support for grief, emotional balance, support for skin problems, painful joints, stomach problems, increasing concentration, etc. Make sure that you do not add too many drops to your carrier oil!
And if someone isn’t sure if they’re going to have an allergic reaction to a certain oil or essential oil, it’s a good idea to always test on a small patch of skin first.
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I provide I tailor treatments to your specific needs and situation. I combine various techniques with intuitive work. I use pure organic carrier and essential oils.
Hi, my name is Jolinda, and I work as a holistic health practitioner. I provide Reiki and massage treatments, yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness training and happiness coaching.
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