Which is the best massage oil for my infant? | Review
Updated: May 9
A little about your baby's skin
Commercial Products Review
1. Dabur Lal Tail
2. Johnson's Baby Oil
3. Himalaya Baby Massage Oil
4. Cetaphil Baby Massage Oil
5. Sebamed Baby Massage Oil
Natural Organic Oils Review
1. Virgin Coconut Oil
2. Olive Oil
3. Almond Oil
“My little bundle of joy is finally here! I delivered my baby boy last month, and I looked up the benefits of baby massages & how it can help in his growth, but which baby massage oil should I use that is best suited for his skin?”
This is one of our most frequently asked questions. A quick google search for “baby massage oils” and you see a plethora of products of different brands with different ingredients with both positive and negative recommendations & reviews.
But among all of these products, which one is the best? The short answer is - natural organic oils such as virgin coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil (depending on the season). Read more to know why.
Here is our review of the all the commercial baby massage oils like Dabur Lal tail, Johnson’s baby oil, Himalaya baby massage oil, Cetaphil baby massage oil, and Sebamed baby massage oil - which are readily available in the market. And the reasons why we prefer natural organic oils like virgin coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil. But first, you must learn some simple facts about your baby’s skin.
Your infant’s skin acts as the first line of defence of the immune system, and it protects your baby from all the external germs and bacteria immediately after birth. Therefore, keeping in mind these factors regarding your baby’s skin, we made a list of the most popular baby massage oils in India to give you our recommendation.
"Do you love playing with your baby’s cheeks?"
Of course, you do! Calling someones skin “as soft as a baby” is a compliment for a reason. Your baby’s skin is radically different than an adult (unsurprisingly). It is a lot more thinner, more sensitive, more prone to dryness and other skin problems like rashes, dry skin, baby acne or even baby eczema.
The most common reason why these skin problems occur is because of using the wrong products, which results in an imbalance in the ph level of your baby’s skin.
The ph levels of your infant’s skin are much higher than adults (who have a skin ph value of around 5.5). Newborns have a skin ph of about 6.34 to 7.5, which makes their skin more alkaline. Therefore, you must check the ph level of all the baby products before you purchase them, and make sure that the ph value is no more than 5.5 at best.
There are two kinds of oils that you will find in the market - Commercial Products & Natural Organic Oils. Let’s start with the ones that are the most readily available.
Commercial Baby Massage Products
These oils usually contain a lot of ingredients, and mild chemicals (fragrances), and are readily available in stores and online. Unlike natural organic oils which are devoid of all chemicals, these commercial products can be used throughout the year regardless of the season. The added chemicals for fragrances is a disadvantage of these commercial products. However, it doesn’t mean that they are unsafe to use.
1. Dabur Lal Tail - Rating 3/5
“Dabur Lal Tail” is one of the most famous Ayurvedic baby massage oils that you can find. The first thing that you would notice when you use this product is that it has a powerful fragrance. This product is a mixture of two oils “Chandanbala Laxadi Oil” and “Bala Ashwagandha Oil”.
There are simply way too many ingredients in it. The ingredients in “Chandanbala Laxadi Oil” are Cateria Lacca, Santalum Album, Cedrus Deodara, Sesame Oil, Rrbia Cordifolia and Withania Somnifera, etc. “Bala Ashwagandha Oil” has the main ingredient of Ashwagandha or the ‘Indian Winter Cherry / Indian Ginseng” among a few others.
It is popular and widely used because of its unique Ayurvedic ingredients. However, having so many ingredients means that there are bound to be some cases where the ingredients or the strong fragrance might not be suitable for some babies, so make sure that your baby is comfortable when you use this product. Dabur Lal Tail is also paraffin and paraben free and it contains no harmful chemicals other than a lot of Ayurvedic ingredients.
2. Johnson’s Baby Oil - Rating 2/5
In case you are looking for a baby massage oil with a very mild (almost negligible) fragrance & texture then you might consider this one. But beware, the main ingredient of this product is mineral oil. Mineral oil is not nourishing in and of itself, it is not a natural oil - but derived from petroleum. It is artificial, that is what makes this oil so light and non-sticky. They have also added vitamin E acetate in it.
The oil also has added chemicals for fragrances, yet it is gentle enough to lubricate the baby’s skin during the massage. People buy this product because they are looking for an oil without too much fragrance and mild texture. However, if that’s what you want, then you should consider using a natural organic oil rather than this.
We do not recommend that you use this, even though it will not cause any harm to your baby’s skin. There is no reason to choose an artificial petroleum-based massage oil for your baby unless you can’t find any natural oils like virgin coconut, or almond oil (more on this below).
3. Himalaya Baby Massage Oil - 3.5/5
This product is the perfect middle ground between Dabur Lal Tail and Johnson’s baby oil. It is one step ahead of the Johnson’s baby oil because it does not use mineral oil. The Himalaya Baby Massage Oil instead uses vegetable oil - Olive oil to be precise. It also has vitamin E extracts naturally because of the Olive oil.
Apart from the Olive oil, it also has Ashwagandha (Indian Winter Cherry) just like Dabur Lal Tail, and yet it doesn’t have a strong fragrance, which is good. It’s also not flooded with ayurvedic ingredients and has a natural organic oil as its main ingredient, which makes it a great commercial ayurvedic product. It does have some amount of Aloe Vera in it, which is good to have. But since it is a commercial product, it contains mild added chemicals for fragrance.
4. Cetaphil Baby Massage Oil - 3/5
This oil is a good option for moisturising your baby’s skin. It also has a pleasant fragrance, which is of course due to added chemicals. There are three main ingredients - sunflower oil, soybean oil & shea butter. It also has traces of Calendula (Marigold). This product is slightly on the pricey side because it is manufactured in Germany. Most of the ingredients used in this oil are natural and organic, it does not have any mineral oil, and it is free from paraben.
Quite a few doctors recommend this particular product. But many people who purchase this product on amazon have found that the bottle has been tampered with. So please scrutinize the seal on the bottle when you are buying it, especially if you order it online.
5. Sebamed Baby Massage Oil - 3.5/5
Sebamed is another baby massage oil made in Germany. Just like all the other commercial baby massage oils, this too has added chemicals for fragrances. It is the most expensive product on the list. The main ingredient is soybean oil which has a lot of essential fatty acids and wheat germ oil which is a good source of vitamin E. It does not contain any harmful chemicals and is mild on your baby’s skin.
It is quite similar to Cetaphil as well. Since both these oils are manufactured in Germany, the prices are on the higher side. It does not contain any mineral oil or paraben, and it can be used in all seasons as it does not turn solid during the winter like some natural oils.
Natural Organic Baby Massage Oils
Based on our professional experience in massaging newborn babies. We highly recommend you to stick to natural organic oils like virgin coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, etc. Since natural oils are best suited for your infants tender skin. Apart from being pure, they also happen to be quite cheap and easy to get in most shops locally.
There are no better oils that you can use for massaging your baby, don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise due to any brand’s marketing. They are the main ingredient in commercial products - and yet they are free from all the added chemicals (fragrances, mineral oils, animal products) in them.
The only concern while using natural products is that you have to use different oils for different seasons (for eg. You cannot use coconut oil in winters since it turns solid). The best combination that you could use is - almond oil/olive oil during winters and the rainy season, and virgin coconut oil during the summer.
1. Virgin Coconut Oil - 4.5/5
Virgin Coconut Oil is a natural healer, no matter where you get it from or which brand you use. It works like magic. If your baby is suffering from cradle cap (dry, flaky scalp), then applying virgin coconut oil and giving a gentle, loving massage is one of the best remedies ever.
Most of the times during our consultation for baby massage services, the mother tell us that her baby’s skin is very sensitive that it becomes dry very quickly. In such cases, we use virgin coconut oil during the massage sessions because it is best suited for dry and sensitive skin types (which is the case with the majority of babies). Major skin problems like baby eczema is also treated with virgin coconut oil along with proper massage techniques. It is also extremely effective in curing diaper rash!
So don’t spend your money on buying any of those diaper rash lotions and creams which are flooded with chemicals in a laboratory. Instead, just apply this oil during your massage sessions. It works just perfect, without the help of those harsh chemicals - doesn’t it sound like magic?
We use and recommend this personally for your little one - especially during summers since the extreme heat can strip away all of the precious natural oils on your baby’s skin. Virgin Coconut Oil is the best natural oil that can not only moisturise your baby’s skin in the heat but also help in keeping it cool throughout the day.
2. Olive Oil - 4/5
Olive oil is extremely rich in a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are all highly beneficial to your infant’s skin. It’s no wonder that you will find it as the main ingredient in many of the commercial baby massage oils in the market. It is rich in vitamin E, K and also many other healthy fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 and monounsaturated fats.
It is one of the ideal massage oils for your infant. Olive oil has a very calming and soothing effect on newborn babies, and it also helps promote growth during their sleep. It has a great impact on your baby’s skin tone, and it also acts as an excellent moisturiser. Olive oil is best known for its regenerative effects on the skin tissues. In case your little one is feeling constipated, it can also be used as a natural laxative to reduce constipation and gastric problems as well!
The best part about Olive oil is that you can use it for massaging your baby throughout the year, regardless of the season because it does not turn solid during the winter like the virgin coconut oil. It is also one of the main ingredients in the Himalaya Baby Massage Oil.
3. Almond Oil - 4/5
Almond oil is the best oil that you could use during the winter season. It is a popular choice of mothers all over the world. There are two types of almond oil that you will find - bitter almond oil and sweet almond oil. We advise you to stick to using sweet almond oil for your baby because even if a little bit accidentally goes in the mouth when you are massaging them for teething, it will not bother them or make them uncomfortable.
Almond oil is packed with vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D and vitamin E along with a lot of fatty acids and minerals which will nourish your little one’s skin during the winter. You can also use almond oil if your baby is having cradle cap problems, it is an excellent moisturiser like virgin coconut oil. It will help prevent skin problems and soreness and retain the softness of your baby’s skin. It also has a delightful natural fragrance, devoid of all chemicals, unlike most commercial oils that you will find. Almond oil is also good for your infant’s nails and bones. It is a great immunity booster.
“Your baby deserves the best that the world has to offer. We urge you to not expose them to the chemicals found in most baby products today. Based on our professional experience, we suggest you use natural oils during your baby’s massage.”
- Ms. Annie Hakim (Founder & Director - Pink Orchid Beauty & Wellness)
P.S. Book a professional baby massage session at your home in Pune now! Our therapists are trained with the utmost care to handle your little bundle of joy with love.