The Holy Grail of a great shampoo and conditioner, delivering great ingredients for hair health without doing evil, remains elusive. However, Mineral Fusion Fortifying Shampoo and Conditioner ($9.99 each for 8.5 fl oz) have some very good things going for them, don’t do too much evil and had a nice touch on my hair.

My take on the Mineral Fusion Fortifying set is that it is suited to hair that is little on the oily side. The shampoo’s foam is light, as is the cream of the conditioner and both rinse out rapidly and thoroughly. These are not products where you risk any residue build-up and I found that I could wait three days between shampoos. My hair, which is oily enough to send me under the shower every other day, became surprisingly fly away and a little static-ey (even in the eye of Hurricane Irene!). I fear, however, that someone with dry hair won’t take to them.

Mineral Fusion is a mineral makeup line and so its not surprising that there is malachite, rhodochrosite and hematite extracts here, providing trace elements and mineral salts. Rhodochrosite is also supposed to provide UV protection. There are some nice botanical extracts as well. But I’ll come back to these because the first thing to work out with haircare products is what’s being used as the cleansers and sudsers.

The main one is a form of sodium lauryl glucoside, a coconut derived alternative to sodium lauryl sulfates and, as far as I can tell, relatively benign. The price paid for going sulfate free is that you don’t get much of a froth and I resorted to helping myself to a second dollop of Mineral Fusion’s shampoo in order to work up sufficient lather. In the conditioner there is the rather disappointing use of stearalkonium chloride, a standard commercial conditioning ingredient that was originally invented as fabric softener. Because studies have shown organ toxicity at low doses, this ingredient is approved with concentration limits.

The conditioner also has amodimethicone. This silicone polymer is also particularly helpful for damaged or color-treated hair because it protects from thermal damage, increases color retention, and boosts shine. It is less prone to build up than some other silicones.

It is good to see broccoli here. A fairly rare ingredient in hair care products, but a useful one given that it has sun protection qualities. Aging hair will also benefit from antioxidant cranberry and vitamin C. I also like inclusion of omega rich flax seed oil in the conditioner.

Notwithstanding the fabric softener and the preservative of choice being DNA killing sodium benzoate, Mineral Fusion manages to keep its prices keen without resorting to doing too much evil. Worth checking out as a good quality, natural brand that manages to have a Whole Foods vibe at drugstore prices.

Ingredients in Fortifying Shampoo: Purified water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, sodium lauryl glucoside hydroxypropylsulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, vegetable glycerin, sodium methyl taurate, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, mineral blend (malachite extract, and hematite extract), brassica oleracia italica (broccoli) seed oil*, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil*, panthenol(vitamin b5), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba)seed oil*, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), retinyl palmitate (vitamin a), tocopherol (vitamin e), mica, titanium dioxide, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, natural aroma blend.

Ingredients in Fortifying Conditioner: Purified water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sunflower oil, stearalkonium chloride, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, amodimethicone, panthenol, mineral complex (malachite extract, smithsonite extract, rhodochrosite extract), soy protein, broccoli seed oil, flax seed oil, tocopherols, ascorbic acid, retinyl palmitate, cranberry seed oil, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and natural aroma blend organic.