Aging hair is perplexing and vexing. It sort of creeps up on you and before you know it every day is a bad hair day. After a while the symptoms start to manifest themselves and one's formerly lustrous locks have become brittle, dull and thinning. And, unlike the skin care market, there are precious few lines that are specifically anti-aging. Kronos is one of the exceptions with a line of anti-aging hair care and the Phyx Overnight Repair Mask caught my eye.

For one thing it costs $105. But more importantly it claims to be clinically proven to work in an independent trial. After four weeks hair strength and elasticity was improved by a whopping 96% and volume by a more modest, but nevertheless welcome, 26%.

Phyx is marred by the usual suspects in the silicone and preservative departments. Then I was surprised to see acetyl hexapeptide-3. This is an anti-aging peptide that works by relaxing muscles in order to inhibit the formation of expression wrinkles. I have no idea what it can possibly do to the hair and scalp.

On the other hand, there are over 25 ingredients that look as if they have the potential to contribute to those trial results. One of those is hexapeptide-11. Studies have shown that this can signal genes responsible for collagen production and it can upregulate the androgen receptor in the way that testosterone can, suggesting that it can help with hair regrowth. Pearl powder is another intriguing ingredient for a hair care product. The thing that makes pearls pearly is called conchilion. As documented in the Journal of Cell Biology in 2006, conchilion acts like the protein keratin (which is found in skin, bones and hair).

Most of the rest are botanicals, including astrocaryum murumuru seed butter. This comes from Brazilian palm and is rich in oleic acid. Also hailing from Brazil is coral powder, which is high in calcium. I just hope it doesn't come from live (and rapidly depleting) coral beds. There are a couple of different types of green tea, plus rice bran to bring antioxidant power. Lycium chinensis is a good source of betaine, an amino acid. Another Chinese plant is cudrania tricuspidata, a kind of mulberry tree that is good for stimulating the circulation. Meanwhile, researchers in Japan have found prunus mume to be an effective scavenger of free radicals.

Ingredients in Kronos Phyx

Water (Aqua), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-37, Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethiconol, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein, Glycerin, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Orbignya Speciosa Kernel Oil, Oryzanol, Tocopherols, Tocotrienols, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Betaine, South Sea Pearl Powder Extract, Brazilian Coral Powder Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hexapeptide-11, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Cudrania Tricuspidata (Mulberry) Bark Extract, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Lycium Chinensis (Chinese Matrimony Vine) Fruit Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Prunus Mume (Ume) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Communis (Pear) Fruit Extract, Rubus Coreanus (Wild Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Uuron Cha Ekisu) Leaf Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Fullerenes, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Urea, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Propylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Citric Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Stearic Acid, Carbomer, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Fragrance (Parfum), BHT, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool.