When giving a massage you want an oil that adds slip for an extended period of time, but isn’t unpleasantly greasy. It’s also nice if it’s easily malleable in the hands (I’ve seen pure coconut oil used for this purpose, but never liked how you have to scoop a hunk of it out of the tub before using it) and has a satiny finish on the skin, leaving it soft and hydrated and happy (though really, how could anything not be happy post-massage?!). This massage oil came about as a result of my experiments with olive wax, after noticing how much play time many of the various experiments had on the skin, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
As much as I don’t love the scoop-of-solid-coconut-oil approach to massage giving, I also don’t love the oh-crap-liquid-oil-sloshing-out-of-my-palm approach, either. And yes, there are other ways to solve those problems than developing a recipe, but this is kind of what I do, so cut me some slack 😝 The inclusion of some olive wax in an oil blend that is otherwise inclined to be liquid not only adds some of that stunning olive wax play time, but it also gives the blend a bit of body, making it a bit easier to dispense and steer in your palm.
For the oil blend I’ve selected a combination of medium-weight olive oil and slippy coconut. The olive oil is easily substituted with other medium-weight oils like sweet almond or sunflower. You could even use a lightweight one, just don’t use a so-called “drying” oil like macadamia nut or rosehip. “Drying oils” are called such because they absorb into the skin so quickly that they leave your skin with a soft, dry touch (they don’t dry out the skin), and that’s not what we want in a massage oil!
Coconut oil is all kinds of oily while still being quite light, making it a great massage oil. I like blending it with other liquid oils to keep it liquid at room temperature, as it solidifies below 24°C (75°F). In this mostly liquid oil blend it helps lend a touch of viscosity to compliment the olive wax, as well as its delicious coconutty scent, which is always appreciated. Yum!
In my usage tests I found it was best to warm the oil in your palms for ten seconds or so—this not only ensures you’re using pleasantly warm oil on your massage partner, but helps smooth it out and get it moving if your home is on the chilly side. Once the oil was in use I found I easily got 7–10 minutes of use time with it where the skin didn’t feel overly oily, but had good slip without dragging or waxy friction. I’m definitely a fan!
Satin Massage Oil
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through. Remove the water bath from the heat, remove the measuring cup from the water bath, and dry it off with a dish towel. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Decant the mixture into a 120ml/4oz squeeze bottle. It’ll thicken a bit as it cools, but will still be dispensable. Once it’s cool, add the vitamin E to the bottle and shake to combine. That’s it!
To use, squeeze a bit into your hands and rub that between your palms to warm and soften it before applying it to the skin for massaging.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this massage oil is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
- You can use a different mid-weight liquid oil instead of olive oil
- You can use deodorized coconut oil or babassu oil instead of coconut oil