We simply don't know when the economy will show steady signs of improvement. But one thing we know for sure is that consumers are still very wary of spending their money. I know that I am not just thinking twice before I stock up on beauty products. In addition to asking myself if they work and do no evil, I have to believe I am getting value for money. My Five Best body picks live up to all three. And, yes, I have slipped in a luxury item, but since it meets my criteria (and I haven't yet found better) it qualifies as a justifiable must buy, if not a good buy.

100% Aloe Vera Gel Certified Organic ($13). I have discovered that one of the best ways to snaffle a good buy is to go straight for raw ingredients. My bottle of aloe vera gel has put in sterling service as a healer of dry skin that is prone to breakouts (my shoulders) and a soother of insect bites and prickly heat. Plus every time you use it you know you are getting so much more in the way of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. While there may not be much data on what aloe can do, its properties are promising. There are, for example, 18 amino acids in this succulent and it has all the main vitamins, except D. Anyway, my own empirical evidence suggests that this succulent is worth getting to know.

Osmotics Barrier Repair Body Silk ($85). A little goes a long way and given that it has the kind of heavy duty antioxidants that you would get in a face serum it is fair to say that - compared to a face cream - this is a good buy. Amongst the antiaging ingredients are carnosine, which can extend the HayFlick Limit. Aldenine may even be more potent in the antioxidant dept, a radical scavenger that specifically goes after the reactive carbonyl species. It acts, therefore, as a cellular detoxifier, boosts collagen III production, and is supposed to protect cells from sunlight. Also worth a call-out is thermus thermophilus ferment, a marine microbacteria that is activated when the waters it resides in reach a certain temperature. The theory is that, being heat activated (eg when the skin is exposed to the warmth of the sun, it will activate the body's natural antioxidant enzymes.

Planetary Formulas Horse Chestnut Cream ($8.99). With a whopping 20% horse chestnut extract, this has to be one of the bargains of the decade. Horse chestnut trees (particularly the seeds) contain a saponin called escin. This is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries by blocking an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which can breakdown of proteoglycans (part of the structure of capillary walls). Planetary Formulas has several other helpful plant extracts. In particular, there is butcher's broom, which contains chemicals that attach to and strengthen blood vessels. There is an attention to detail about this product that I find impressive at any price.

Sparituals Instinctual Organic Moisturizing Lotion ($28). The thing I like best about this body and hand lotion is that it smells of gingerbread. It is a deceptively simple potion that at first glance seems to have the usual vegetable oils and coconut derivatives. High up the list, however, is sesame seed oil. This is a potent antioxidant that can actually prevent the formation of malignant melanoma. Sesame is also full of vitamin E and potassium and is a great moisturizer. There is also anti-inflammatory aloe vera and antioxidant olive. I have found it makes skin look firm and smooth.

Yes To Tomatoes Tender Touch Hand Cream ($10.99). An all time good buy. Lycopene from tomato is a powerful weapon (even more potent than Vitamin E) against singlet oxygen, which is produced during exposure to UV light and is one of causes of aging skin. Many of the other ingredients are signature to big sister Yes to Carrots. For example, avocado oil, Dead Sea water and algae. A handful of others stand out including red tea, which although not technically a tea but a pea is a proven antioxidant. Watermelon has vitamin C, but more interestingly it has been demonstrated to elevate levels of the amino acid arginine (responsible for collagen production).

Ingredients in Osmotics:

Purified water, squalane, glycerin, emulsifying wax NF, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, dimethicone, thermus thermophilus ferment, sodium hyaluronate, bismuth oxychloride, mica, silica, lanolin, phenoxyethanol, capryl glycol, ethylhexylglycerine, hexylene glycol, soybean sterol, carnosine, tetrahydrocurcumin, ceramide, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), linoleic acid, allantoin, stearic acid, lavender oil, carbomer, disodium EDTA, tromethamine.

Ingredients in Planentary Formulas:

Horse Chestnut Seed/Bark Extract (Standardized to 20% aescin), Butcher's Broom Leaf Extract, Witch Hazel Bark Extract, White Oak Bark Extract, Myrrh Gum Extract, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Purified Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Emollient), Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methyl Glucose (from Sugar Plant), Lecithin Phospholipid, Jojoba Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Natural Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Sorbic Acid (Preservatives)

Ingredients in Yes To Tomatoes:

Aqua (Water), Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomatoes) Extract*, Stearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Gel*, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Extract*, Capsicum Annuum (Red Pepper) Extract*, Aspalathus Genus (Red Tea) Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Prunus Dulcis (Almond) Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomile) Extract*, Capsicum Annuum (Green Pepper) Extract*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Maris Aqua (Dead Sea Water), Algea (Spirulina, Rhodella, Dunaliella) *, Maris Limus (Silt) Extract, Glycerine Triisostearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Magnesium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Propolis Cera*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba Extract*, Niacin*, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). *Organic

Ingredients in Sparituals:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin (plant derived), Cetearyl Olivate (Olive derived), Sorbitan Olivate (Olive derived), Cetearyl Alcohol & Ceteareth 20 (Coconut/Palm derived), Cetearyl Alcohol (Coconut/Palm derived), Zingiber Officinale (Indonesian Ginger) Root Essential Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic Capric Triglyceride (Coconut/Palm derived), Sorbitan Stearate (plant derived), Dimethicone, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Retinyl (Vitamin A) Palmitate, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Hexylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate.