The long-term inevitability of the economy and ridiculous inability of our politicians to make sensible decisions made for a gloomy and cynical 2011. I feel - well I try to be glass half full - that this will have a paradoxically positive impact on 2012. This will be a year in which we will increasingly look to ourselves for answers, we’ll want to find some inner peace and balance, feel good about ourselves – and feel that we damn well deserve to – and after being so hunkered down we’ll be taking a broader view.

So think holistic for 2012. We’ll be thinking less about looking young and more about looking fit and healthy. So, in addition to the ongoing quest for the perfect anti-aging serum, we’ll be making diet (by which I mean good nutrition) and exercise part of our beauty regimens. To get started, take a look at the inspiring Burr Leonard and her Bar Method exercises that will take years – even decades – off your body (and there is a great New Year saving on a collection I’m calling Change & Firm Your Body). Try it and learn to love your thighs (hey, if I can, after spending my entire life convinced I was a corgi in a former life, then so can you). It’s New Year, New You time.

I think we’ll see, in response to the holistic idea, more ‘beauty from within’ or ‘nutri-cosmetic’ products. Unless there’s research to back up claims, I’m going to be a little skeptical that these will be little more than overpriced vitamins. Some supplements have been shown to have anti-aging effects – eg flax and borage may refine the complexion - and I’ll be looking out for more like these. But in the meantime, good old fresh food will do me.  Here, for example, is why you should make getting to know watercress one of your New Year’s resolutions.

My other prediction is that beauty companies will pay more attention to potentially dangerous formulations. It is interesting that Cosmetic Design, a beauty industry newsletter just noted that of the top five most read stories of the year, three were about controversies over bad stuff – formaldehyde in hair straighteners, a woman going into a coma after using L’Oreal’s hair dye, Johnson & Johnson caving (well, a bit) to pressure to make its baby shampoos safer.

Attention to formulations is going to be the major distinguishing feature amongst beauty companies this coming year. The trend towards natural and safe ingredients will continue, but consumers won't stand for being greenwashed. We also want to find the right balance of efficacy: products that really work, do as little evil as possible and don't make false claims. I for one am excited by some of the new actives of the last year or so: teprenone, stem cells, new peptides. I hope that 2012 will bring us greater understanding of how they work and how safe they are used over time.  My biggest hope: a decent, non-chalky totally safe sunscreen!

Wishing you all a safe and balanced 2012 in which you give yourself - the old and new - a lot of love.