10 best massage oils and waxes

Relieve tired muscles and aching limbs with the help of these aromatic, relaxing skin treats

The way many of us live now, spending hours at our desks and in front of screens, doesn’t have many health benefits. We experience it every time we return from the office with a stiff neck, strained wrist, or shoulders that have migrated to meet our ear lobes.

Our body’s reaction to stress is a complex one, and circular in the way that mental pressure causes physical tension, which in turn can affect us long after the initial reason to be stressed has passed. Those who work with the body will often refer to certain body parts ‘storing’ tension or worry. Whether you're looking for pain relief or a holistic experience, massage offers a powerful way to release built-up tightness. Touch is the first sense that develops in the human foetus, and a massage has the potential to put our concerns into perspective and remind us that we're more than just minds on legs.

Using massage oils helps in getting the right balance between grip and slip on the skin, and the smell enhances the experience by stimulating a second sense that we pay relatively little attention to most of the time. The variety of scents mean you can tailor the massage to your needs, with options ranging from the invigorating to the sleep-inducing.

To give you some inspiration and an overview of what's out there, we teamed up with Lisa de Liema, a London-based massage therapist specialised in the treatment of pain, and have tried and tested a range of oils (with the help of some patient helpers). Here is our pick of the best out there for a range of different needs; from Weleda’s Arnica oil ideal for sports-weary limbs to Alva’s luxurious anti-stress oil for your face, we hope there’s a blend that will help you relax. 

Click on the gallery to see the IndyBest buys

The verdict:

The Éminence Apricot Body Oil is the perfect pick-me-up for both your skin and mood. If you’re looking for a deep tissue massage, Songbird’s massage wax will give you the grip that you need. For an all-round relaxing experience, try Janjira’s Therapy Massage Candle - fun for whoever is giving the massage too!

Buy now

1. Songbird Woman’s Blend Massage Wax, £7.99 for 100g

2. Weleda Arnica Massage Oil, £11.91 for 100ml

3. Neal’s Yard Aromatic Massage Oil, £12.50 for 100ml

4. Tisserand Detox Massage Oil, £8.50 for 100ml

5. Aroma Natural Massage Oil, £6.50 for 100ml

6. Éminence Apricot Body Oil, £21 for 240ml

7.  Aqua Oleum After Dark, £7.75 for 100 ml

8. Bodhi Ginger Brew Deep Tissue Massage & Body Oil,  £28 for 100ml

9. Janjira Therapy Massage Candle, £34

10. Alva Anti-stress Oil,  £32 for 30 ml