Massage Oils, gel, lotion and creame FAQ

Lierre stocks an excellent, comprehensive range of massage oils, gels, lotions and creams that can be used across a wide range of different practices. We’ve taken painstaking care to include natural, environmentally friendly, ethically sourced, local products, while making sure that they remained affordable enough for the average practitioner.

 

 

 

Q: What’s the difference between oils, creams, lotions, gels and balms?

A: Massage oils are the most popular choice of liquids among massotherapists, they are either perfumed or odourless, and can be sold as blends or on their own. Different types of oils have different advantages: for example, argan oil is particularly good for sensitive or acne prone skin, while coconut oil hydrates skin deeply, rice bran is hypoallergenic and relatively dry, and grapeseed and jojoba oils both have a nourishing effect.

Gel: Gels are oil blends that can be a bit thicker, and they’re generally designed to provide greater coverage and glide. They tend to balance out the different advantages and advantages of different kinds of oils by combining them. Gels usually include a thickening agent or an emulsifier, which is the main aspect which distinguishes it from a regular oil blend; different agents will create different textures, and gels thickened using wax will for example be creamier than gels thickened with shea butter.

Lotionsare thicker than gels, and tend to be extremely gentle on skin, while still providing more glide than cream. They tend to be more popular for both professional and personal use at home. However, professionals may find targeted gels useful for certain therapeutic purposes, such as pain relief. Creme: Similar to lotions, cremes are the thickest option for massage, and they tend to moisturize the skin in depth: therapists will usually only use them for treatments targeting smaller zones on the body.

Creme: Similar to lotions, cremes are the thickest option for massage, and they tend to moisturize the skin in depth: therapists will usually only use them for treatments targeting smaller zones on the body.

Balms, on the other hand, are usually oil rather than water based, and include thickening ingredients such as bees’ wax. Once warmed, L’Herbier’s balms dissolve into a consistency very similar to a massage gel. They’re a fantastic option for massage therapists who appreciate the thicker consistency of lotions, but want to prioritize glide and coverage during their treatments.

Q: What products are better for personal use?

A: There isn’t a strict divide between products meant for professionals and amateurs; that is to say, all of our massage oils, creams, gels and lotions can lend themselves to personal use. There are, however, some considerations that apply to professionals that simply wouldn’t matter for casual use: versatility, for example, isn’t as desirable for individuals that are only going to be using a product on a few people.

Q: What are some hypoallergenic products?

A: While it depends on which types of allergens are at play, most oils are unlikely to trigger allergies. Practitioners that have a varied clientele should try to keep at least one nut-free oil, however; we usually recommend rice bran oil,as it is also great for sensitive skin.

Q: Which products are better for sensitive skin?

A: Generally, it is better to use a neutral, unscented massage oil on patients with sensitive skin, as well as a non-comedogenic one. Argan oil therefore fits this description nicely, but other more affordable types such as sweet almond oil and jojoba should also be fine. Patients with extremely sensitive skin may prefer lotions, which tend to be very gentle. Above all, avoid scented oils with very acidic ingredients such as citrus!

Q: What is tocopherol and why is it on so many massage oils’ ingredient lists?

A: Tocopherol is an umbrella terms for a series of organic compounds often found in oils or added to them as preservatives, and many of these compounds contain Vitamin E. Sunflower oil, for example, contains 55.8 mg of Vitamin E per 100g. It is often claimed that Vitamin E can help heal scars; however, research on the subject is mixed.

Q: Which massage products are better for pain relief?

A: Menthol and camphorare the most popular pain relief ingredients in massage balms and creams. While camphor and menthol provides a powerful cooling sensation.Menthol is less common in oils, however, because it can be overpowering, and may irritate sensitive skins. Common pain and tension relieving ingredients in massage oils include eucalyptus and peppermint.

Here are some products that we stock that contain these ingredients:

For patients sensitive to eucalyptus, menthol, camphor and/or peppermint, or otherwise looking for an alternative to these ingredients, L’Herbier offers the Boreal Balm, which provides relief from muscular tensions and pains and which relies on black spruce, white pine and fir essential oils for its analgesic effect.

 

Q: Why does my gel still feel oily?

A: The simple answer is that most gels are oil blends! Gels are designed for better glide and coverage, and will generally provide both of those in spades compared to simple massage oil. The only thing that distinguishes a gel from an oil blend is an emulsifying or thickening agent; as these agents vary considerably, so do the gels’ texture, sometimes resembling a lotion, and other times resembling an oil blend.

Lotions and creams are a great option for therapists who want to work with a thicker product than a gel, and balms are a good in-between for oils and creams.

Q: How can I avoid oil stains?

A: The best way to avoid stains, unfortunately, is to buy good massage sheets and change them often. Massage table sheets with mixed materials will soak up stains less easily than 100% cotton sheets, while feeling less synthetic to the touch than 100% polyester. We therefore recommend our 50% polyester/cotton percale sheets to customers that are particularly concerned about stains.

Another alternative, however, is to use water based lotions, and to mainly use neutral, water dispersible oil blends, which are easier to clean. Bon Vital’s Coconut Massage Gel, as well as their Muscle Therapy Oil and their Therapeutic Touch lotions are all water dispersible, and their lotions are all water-based, making them the easiest products to clean off of your table and sheets.

Q: What do people mean by glide?

A: Glide is simply a term used to describe an oil’s slipperiness, and therefore its capacity to reduce friction on the skin. All oils achieve glide to varying degrees; oils that are said to have good glide cover the skin thickly, and the skin doesn’t absorb them fast enough to reduce this effect.

Q: Which oils are good for acne?

A: Though it must be stressed that every skin type is different, there are two main aspects to consider when determining whether a certain oil is good for acne or not: whether or not the oil clogs pores, and whether or not it reduces inflammation. The first aspect is a long term consideration, as it generally will become more noticeable after regular treatment, while the second one will show immediate effect. Therefore, a massage oil can be good for acne in that it can help prevent it, or at least not exacerbate it, and in that it can help the skin heal faster and reduce the pimples’ size, hardness and redness, all of which are direct effects of inflammation.

While not always perfect, comedogenic scales are the best indicator of an oil’s tendency to clog pores. Of course, due to different skin types and other factors, oils at the high end of the comedogenic scale may be fine for one individual’s skin; however, the oils at the lower end tend to be reliably gentler. Scales range from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most comedogenic.

It may come as a surprise to some, but despite being widely praised for its benefits for the skin, coconut oil sits relatively high on the comedogenic scale. Jojoba, sweet almond and grapeseed oils comfortably occupy the midrange of the scale at 2, making them relatively unlikely to make someone break out. Calendula, with its soothing properties, is on the lower end of the scale. Argan oil and shea butter are on the lowest end, making them fantastic choices; as they also help soothe inflammation, they are among the very best types of oils for acne. As shea butter is not an oil per se, and argan oil tends to be expensive, they can be impractical options; many oil blends, however, integrate these two ingredients