As the weather changes for many of us, it is time to bring out some of our favorite moisturizers. There are so many choices to make that it can be overwhelming! With our skin absorbing roughly 60 percent of what we put on, there are choices that are so simple that they seem ineffective. But many of these were actually used successfully by our ancestors thousands of years ago.

Humans have been using moisturizer since at least the Mesolithic era 10,000 years ago, when people smeared animal fat on themselves to keep skin supple. Many Native American tribes also used animal fats from beasts they had slaughtered to help keep warm and as decoration. Women in Latin America have used avocado to moisturize since pre-Columbian times, while people in Brazil and Africa have long used palm oil. 

Olive oil also was popular as a moisturizer among the ancient Greeks. Homer describes Hera anointing herself with scented olive oil before her seduction of Zeus. In fact, the ancient Olympics were conducted by men greased in olive oil. Some Greek women used an anti-aging routine that involved spreading milk and bread on their faces at night, while Hippocrates said using honey on the face would guarantee “a fresh and jovial look.” 

What is interesting is that a lot of people looking to remove chemicals in their lives are returning to these simple, one-product methods of moisturizing. 

Here are three solutions.

1. Coconut Oil — There are many benefits to using coconut oil as a moisturizer for the entire body. It has been shown to reduce eczema and psoriasis, and can be beneficial as a cuticle oil, cold sore treatment and dry hands. You can make a whipped coconut oil simply by using your electric mixer until the oil becomes soft and fluffy. It can then be stored in a tight container.

2. Avocado Oil — If you are looking for something that can be perhaps a bit lighter then coconut and good for sensitive skin, you may want to consider avocado oil. It has wonderful properties too, and because it’s rich in chlorophyll, it can brighten skin appearance as well.

3. Vitamin E — You can use vitamin E oil on your body, face and lips as it has benefits for all three areas. There are pure vitamin E oils as well as just opening a capsule to use as well.

Happy chem-free moisturizing! 

— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.