As we come to the end of what has been a tough year on so many fronts, it strikes me that one of the gifts that 2009 has bestowed upon me is getting a better handle on my priorities. I value my health, my loved ones and intellectual curiosity like never before. I also believe that 2009 has been a turning point for consumers. Obviously, the economy forces us to be choosy. But hard financial times have coincided with an unprecedented access to information via the internet and the ability for anyone who feels passionate enough to create an online presence. We head into 2010 with the well-informed consumer as king.

The companies making the best beauty products of 2009 have already been recognizing this. I still get a big buzz of pride when I think that Your Best Face Define was a collaboration between YBF and Truth In Aging's VIP members. How cool is that! Define also happens to be a very good product that is the first I have found that really target's the lip area and, like Junko, I can't live without it. Choosing a serum is really hard with so many good ones to choose from (check back in a few days for a new Five Best serums), but it seems to me that Osmosis Replenish is a product for our times. It is fantastically well-priced and every singly ingredient works hard for its living - no fillers, no nasties, just cutting edge antiagers. The Clarisonic Brush is here by popular consent and it is with good reason that so many of you write in to tell me how pleased they are with this skin prepping purchase. For a breakthrough product I choose Osmotics Lipofill because (apart from Nutra-Lift's Rejuvenating A Therapy) this is the first potion to really handle puppet lines. 2009 is the year of the eyelash obsessed (our roundup of eyelash products has been one of our consistently most read articles) and so we must put forward Hydropeptide Lash: it's safe and it works ($98). Finally, Nutra-Lift Shampoo, a two-time Five Bester continues to make heads turn by rising above what is still a poorly served beauty category - and for a good price.

Click on the images for more on each TIA Best of 2009 and check back in tomorrow for the Best of 2009 from our readers (keep your nominations coming). Then we'll be looking ahead to 2010 with a preview of what is on our testers' to-do lists and the 'IT' ingredients of 2010 to look out for. Truth In Aging will be bringing in some of its own new launches with a new shopping interface with ever-expanding products, video, an iPhone app and much more.

I face 2010 with serenity and energy. I wish the same for all of you. Happy New Year.