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If you’ve ever wondered about the best face oils and balms to use for face massage, you’re in the right place! After receiving tons of questions on this face massage tutorial, I created this post as a guide on choosing the best products for your face massage, skin type and why certain products are more effective than others for different styles of massage. All essential in choosing the correct products for a skin nourishing and results driven face massage.

Choosing the Best Face Massage Oils for Your Skin

Face Massage Styles

Do you have a particular intention for your face massage? Do you want to brighten skin? Melt tension from your jaw? Lift and sculpt cheek area? Are you focused on lymphatic drainage to alleviate puffiness? Depending on the intention of your face massage, both the type of products and amounts you use will differ. 

With classic face massage for overall brightening and lifting, mostly gliding and kneading techniques are performed on the skin so an adequate amount of slip is called for. A generous amount of product also prevents having to stop and reapply product. This is ideal for most at home face massage rituals and gua sha too. 

With lymphatic drainage massage, there is much less oil used on the skin. Lymphatic massage is an effective modality for skin congestion, puffiness, inflammation and acne that uses subtle push, pull and sweeping movements to drain fluid. These techniques are impossible to perform correctly if the hands are sliding and gliding on the skin too much. Very little oil is used, if any, for lymphatic drainage to be effective. Heavy balms and oils should not be used on especially sensitive, congested or acne prone skin. Nor should classic gliding massage movements. 

For more therapeutic face massage, especially client work I’m particular to, in some cases I need to firmly grasp skin tissue in areas of tension. This is usually during static holds and cross fiber friction techniques with inner mouth massage if the masseter is holding a lot of tension. If I’m sliding and gliding around with too much slip, it becomes difficult to firmly grasp skin tissue. In these instances, a bit less slip is preferred on the skin but be cautious not to drag the skin.

Face Balm or Face Oil?

I personally love facial balms for massage. They offer a foolproof glide on the skin and a little goes a long way. Balms are naturally rich in consistency so the glide lasts during extended face massage. This is especially effective if you are a professional performing a lot of face massage throughout your treatments. 

Some facial oils such as day oils or dry oils are formulated to quickly absorb into the skin. This is not the most ideal type of oil to use for extended face massage. Opt oils that are not targeted to quickly absorb into the skin. They still get the job done. But you’ll be using more product and spending more time  reapplying product during your face massage.

This not to say oils should not be used, they absolutely should and they layer quite well with balms! Combining oils with balms creates the perfect glide for face massage. And is an especially effective layering technique if you have an oil or serum with ingredients that you would like to drive deeply into the skin. Apply a layer of serum or oil to skin, follow with balm application. And complete face massage to thoroughly work products into skin. 

Pro-Tip. I do not recommend to use coconut oil for face massage. I love coconut oil for its robust internal health benefits. But in my experience, it can be quite pore clogging and congesting to the skin. There are plenty of face massage oils to choose from that are highly nourishing for the skin. So skip the coconut oil to avoid potential congestion.

Skin Types

Balms are so jam packed with deeply nourishing ingredients including butters, fatty acids, and botanicals. Face balms create a supple plumpness to the skin. And are especially nourishing and softening for normal to dry skin types. These skin types are ideal for layering an oil and balm together. Always apply oil first and follow with balm to seal in.

Both sensitive skin and acne prone skin conditions should tread cautiously around face massage. In most cases, more lymphatic style massage is recommended to clear inflammation from the skin. Anti-inflammatory choices for these skin types would include oils higher in linoleic acid content such as argan oil and rosehip seed oil.  

Last but not least, combination skin to oily skin and a common question I receive on this topic since breakouts tend to play a role in both of these skin types.

Does facial massage have an effect on sebum?

Yes, face massage does have an effect on skin sebum in positive way! Believe it or not, true oily skin types are more rare than we think. A lot of oily skin conditions occur due to over cleansing and abrasive, drying product use. The overproduction of oil is skin attempting to replenish the skin barrier. Face massage deeply nourishes the skin and assists in calming the overproduction of oil and sebum that occurs as a result of abrasive product use. Plum Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sea Buckthorn are all excellent choices for combination to oily skin types and conditions.

Best Face Massage Oils and Balms

African Botanicals Intense Skin Repair Balm

African Botanicals is a higher end luxury and botanically based line made in South Africa offering stunning and unique formulations. Their ingredients are sourced with highest integrity for their products, South African culture, land and they adhere to the highest EU manufacturing standards. The brand has a stellar philosophy and is an incredible fusion of holistic luxury and results driven skincare. Their Intense Skin Repair Balm is formulated to target wrinkles, fine lines, firmness, hyper-pigmentation dark spots and anti aging concerns while multi-tasking as a remarkable balm for face massage.

Laurel Skin Infinite Cellular Night Balm

Nourish the skin with this nutrient packed and water free balm that delivers botanicals deep into the skin to repair free radical damage and leave skin fully rejuvenated. Rich in vitamins A, C, E and formulated with pure organic ingredients including rosehip, sea buckthorn and white rose, a little goes along way with this luxurious and skin plumping face balm, making it a marvelous balm for your daily rituals.

Josh Rosebrook Herbal Infusion Oil

Another holy grail product I used for years in my treatment room. A stunning multi-use facial oil product that can be used as an oil cleanser, daily face oil. And in my experience, a deeply nourishing and luxurious face massage oil. Formulated with jojoba, hemp oil, calendula, marshmallow and green tea to name a few of its spectacular ingredients, I never saw a skin type that did not welcome their skin drenched in this phenomenal formulation. 

Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum

CBD is not an ingredient I fully connected with until Saint Jane Beauty changed my mind. Known for its brightening skin effects, this formulation has been third party tested and yields a smooth, decadent glide upon application. While not an oil formulated for face massage, the combination of results driven ingredients including  CBD, rosehip, calendula and prickly pair makes for a noteworthy product to work deeply into the skin. For extended face massage, apply a layer of face oil and follow with a dollop of complimenting face balm.

Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask

Another gem I used in my facial treatment room backbar for years. Hydration mask is an all organic formulation with botanicals including mango seed butter, avocado oil, rose flower and raspberry leaf that lock in hydration, nourishment and deeply repair the skin barrier. The aroma is enlightening and a little goes a long way, making it an exceptional product for face massage.

Kari Gran’s Essential Serum and Essential Serum Balm

Nothing but rave reviews on this skin nutrient packed face balm and serum. Formulated with a list of certified organic skin brightening botanicals including sea buckthorn oil, calendula, rose and jasmine, it is even noted that a little goes a long way with essential balm, making it a fantastic choice for face massage rituals. Add a layer of their tinted lip balm to give lips a wash of color and keep them naturally soft and supple too!

Marie Veronique Rejuvenating Night Oil

While Marie Veronique does not offer face balms, I worked with them for over 5 years in my treatment room and let me tell you, they do oils and serums right! I have used their rejuvenating night oil many times over on myself and clients for face massage. Safe to say it is one of my top 3 face oils and a little goes a long way. This is an oil I have in my personal repertoire of skin products and use it often.

LINNE Smooth Face & Body Balm

Formulated with avocado fruit oil, meadowfoam seed oil and palmarosa, you’ll find this balm in my personal arsenal for face massage and gua sha self care rituals. The aroma is light and grounding while the balm melts right into the skin through a buttery skin glide perfect for face massage.

There you have it. I hope this has offered clarity around choosing the best face massage oils for your skin while enjoying a few of my favorite facial back bar products too!


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