Massage oils, lotions, gels, butters and cream. Which should you use and products to try

Lotions, creams, body butters, gels, essential oils, blends – so many different products to choose from for professional massage at your spa. How do you choose a massage gel, lotion to a butter? Do you know which ones are best for you? We try to answer some of these questions and recommend products that are a great addition to your clinic. Read on.

You may have your own preferences when it comes to massage lotions, creams, and gels. Your clients may also have their own. But as an RMT, you must know which product to use when. It is good to know which lubricants are perfect for deep tissue massage, which oils won’t stain your sheets, which lotions are lightweight, and which creams are nourishing. After all, they exist in different varieties for their own unique uses and functions. Stay with us, and be informed.

Massage Gels – extra lightweight and non-greasy

Let’s begin with massage gels – the most lightweight product!

You may already know massage gels have a watery consistency (unlike oils, creams, and body butters). They glide well on the body providing great workability for therapists. Since many massage gels are oil-free, they are non-greasy and leave the skin silky smooth.

Did you know that gels are a wonderful choice for sports massage and deep tissue work? They also offer amazing benefits for neuromuscular, and trigger point modalities? That is why they are so popular among athletes. Gels are also great for use on specific areas of the body, especially tight muscles.


Most gels are also non-staining – that is why they are loved by RMTs. They are a good choice for making your massage table sheets easy to care for.

Gels are an excellent choice during the hot summer months of Canada when your clients are physically active. Therefore, they prefer a massage that is lightweight and non-greasy.

After all, they don’t want to step into the sun after a massage and feel all sweaty and greasy.

Massage gels are also great for hairy bodies as they are non-sticky and don’t clump body hair. However, gels are not great at blending. If your client is looking for a relaxing massage that uses essential oils, then gels are not a preferred product as they don’t blend well with essential oils.

Massage gels are lightweight, nongreasy, non sticky and glides well onto skin

Massage Lotions - lightweight and quick absorbing

Massage lotions are lightweight. Like gels, lotions have a liquid consistency and absorb well into the skin. They are nourishing, and leave little to no oil residue on the skin. Compared to massage gels, lotions are slightly oily, or greasy. However, they are not greasy enough to leave much residue on skin or on massage sheets.

Most lotions are generally water soluble. Massage Therapists can expect a gentle friction when working on the body. Massage lotions are a great choice for deep tissue massage, while delivering moisture to the skin. They are are excellent choice for normal to slightly dry skin.

Much like gels, massage lotions are a great choice in the hot summer months for their highly absorbent and lightweight properties.

Massage Creams - Middle Ground between Gels and Butters!

As the name suggests, massage creams are usually thick, rich and concentrated compared to massage gels and lotions. They aren’t as thick as body butters but not as lightweight as gels and lotions either. Creams hold the middle ground when it comes to massage products.

They allow therapists to get a great grip for controlled strokes and deep tissue work. At the same time, this lubricant offer the glide of oil, making it an excellent choice for a full body massage. Creams are also a popular choice when you are looking at moisturizing and deep nourishment for the skin.

What’s more? Massage creams can also be used on their own or blended with a variety of essential oils. Pick your favourites – lavender, peppermint, etc., for a luxurious aromatherapy experience. A point to remember, creams do not pump. Always use a disposable stick to apply them.

Massage Oils are rich and nourishing on the skin. Mix carrier oils with essential oils for aromatic benefits

Massage Oils - Rich, Oily, Aromatic with Health Benefits

Let’s talk about the holy grail of massage therapy – the good old massage oils. They are a must have for all massage therapists. Not only do oils help you provide amazing massages, they make the patient’s experience more pleasant as well.

The right oil lubricates skin enough to allow for proper amount of friction and pressure. Oils can also be skin-nourishing and hydrating.

Massage oil also has several health benefits. Apart from a stress reliever, oils also help to reduce pain, muscle soreness and tension. They are also known to provide relief from anxiety, headaches, lower back pain and other aches and discomforts.

Oils – Many Types and Varieties

Massage oils consists of two main categories – carrier oils and essential oils.

Carrier oils are cold pressed vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of plants, usually from the nuts, kernels or seeds. People use these oils to dilute essential oils and other oils prior to topical application.

Their purpose is to carry the essential oil onto the skin, hence they are known as carrier oils. RMTs often use carrier oils as it is, or blend them with other products to create their own unique glide and therapeutic properties.

Essentials Oils – Pure and Concentrated!

Essential oils are super concentrated oils that have amazing aromatherapy properties. Pure Essential Oils have cleansing properties too. They purify the air when used in diffusers.

You can use them for pain relief. Both immune-boosting and mood-enhancing, the use of essential oils is rapidly growing. Use them in your home, at the spa, and for a variety of therapeutic benefits. Select your favourites from our own line of BodyBest Pure Essential Oils. We also offer highly sought after Poya Essential Oils and SacredEarth Essential Oils.

Apart from carrier oils and pure essential oils, there are massage oil blends that are specially formulated for professional massage. These offer amazing health and wellness benefits for muscle relaxation, sleep therapy, stress, and headache relief.

Although massage oils are deeply relaxing, some people are not very keen on using them as they have to deal with the sticky aftereffects. Some oils can also stain massage table sheets. Be careful of spilling them on the floor as they can make the floor slippery. As a therapist, you can be prepared to treat oil stains. Read our blog on how to take care of your massage table sheets.

Body Butters - Slather away

Massage butters or body butters are the creamiest, among all massage therapy products. Its consistency is similar to that of the butter we eat. They are rich in natural fats and carrier oils. Butters remain solid or semi-solid at room temperature, melting into a liquified, oily substance when warmed up by body heat.

“Use Body Butters for Hydrating Dry and Cracked Skin”

Therapists use body butters to moisturize, lubricate and nourish the skin, especially dry and irritated skin. Some butters are fast absorbing. Others may leave a slight oily barrier depending on skin type and formulation. In terms of workability, massage butters are known to provide added glide.

It goes without saying that massage butters are an amazing choice for dry and cracked skin – especially during the long Canadian winters. They create a barrier on the skin protecting it from cold and wintry conditions.

Users can also benefit from massage butter’s rehydrating and reconditioning properties.

Since butters are very oily in its consistency, they are perfect for therapeutic massages, like deep tissue massage. They provide the perfect amount of lubrication for you to massage deeply without rubbing the skin raw.

Massage butters can also be used on their own, or blended with a variety of essential oils. You can pick your favourites – Grape-seed and Sweet Almond oil, etc for a luxurious aromatherapy experience.

Unlike lotions, body butter won’t absorb completely into the skin. This means the lubrication of body butter will last longer through the massage without the need for reapplication.

Some spas and many dermatologists recommend using body butter on your lips, hands, elbows, legs, and feet for general daily skin care.

For more details read our blog on Massage Butter vs. Massage Cream: When to Choose a Massage Butter

Massage butters are rich and creamy - a similar texture to the butters we eat.

What’s your take on how to choose massage gels, butters?

Each of these massage oils, butters and creams have their own unique properties and benefits. You can pick and choose according to your needs and preferences and that of your clients. Hope you now know how to choose a massage gel, lotion or butter according to the season and the different needs of massage therapy.

We will be excited to know which products you enjoy the most In your spa and which ones are your absolute favourites

*Body Best makes no claims or recommendations about the medicinal benefits of the products listed in this article. Seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition