How to Quit Shampoo (and why you should)

This post includes affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, you will be helping to support JenEric Generation. Isn’t that great?

I have a confession about my hair. I don’t use shampoo. Awkward, right? 

You may have heard it referred to as “no ‘poo”, the nickname for the increasingly popular trend to go without shampoo. If willingly giving up shampoo sounds like a form of self-torture to you, let me persuade you to believe otherwise. There are a few reasons why this method is used by so many. 

First, what it is not: it is not a movement to forgo washing your hair. That would be gross. I am not pro-gross. The no ‘poo method is a commitment to using only natural products in your hair, to avoid all the chemicals and toxins that come in most store-bought shampoos, but also because it is so good for your hair. Another reason to go no ‘poo: once your hair adapts to this method, you can go longer periods of time without washing your hair (using homemade dry shampoo to help you along the way). To be honest, that is probably my biggest reason for using this method.

 

Enticing, isn’t it? Or maybe not. 

Maybe you are not sold on giving up your favorite shampoo. No ‘poo is certainly not for the faint of heart. But if you are willing to open your mind to the possibilities of healthy hair and a healthier you, let my experience be of some help to you.

I will admit that I trashed my shampoo after researching the ingredients listed on the back of my shampoo bottle in a fit of panic. I was scared. Now, I am not a scientist and I may be needlessly paranoid over the ingredients whose names I cannot pronounce and their possible harmful natures, but I am not convinced of that yet. And because I was afraid of the contents of my shampoo bottle, and because I began to imagine all the time I would save not washing and styling my hair every other day or so, I decided to give it a try.

Here’s what you need to know if you try ditching shampoo. It is imperative that you remember this: everyone’s head of hair is different. There is no magical formula that works for everyone when it comes to how exactly to go no ‘poo. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of trial and error. But, it can be done. I gave up completely in frustration before giving it another shot a few months later. And it paid off. Now, I’ve been doing it for about one year.

 

Because I promised that “no ‘poo” does not mean not washing your hair, here is the homemade shampoo and conditioner you will use: baking soda and water for shampoo, and Apple Cider Vinegar* and water for conditioner. Seriously.

The trial and error part comes when you have to decide how much baking soda, and how much Apple Cider Vinegar you will use. This is what works for me: two heaping teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in one cup of warm water. For conditioner, 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. Most people will use similar measurements. It won’t vary that much. However, the slight variances make a big difference. 

You will have to try it a few times before you figure out what combination your hair likes best. I have thick, long hair, so two spoonfuls is a good amount for me. If you have shorter, or thinner hair, try using less.

The squeeze bottles are the best way to apply the solutions to your hair, in most people’s opinions. This is how I use them in the shower: wet hair and apply baking soda solution all over your scalp. I focus on my hair line and the crown of my head. Now move away from the water and scrub scrub scrub. Then, shave your legs or sing a song so the baking soda can do its thing for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Rinse again just in case you weren’t thorough enough. Then, squirt the apple cider vinegar (your new conditioner) on your hair. This is where another trial and error aspect comes in. My hair prefers this solution mostly just on the ends of my hair, and not for long. I pretty much rinse immediately. 

When you first start no ‘poo, your hair will kind of freak out. It may look greasy for a few weeks as your scalp re-learns how to produce the proper amount of oil. The thing about store-bought shampoos is that those chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils. This causes your scalp to go into over-drive and create more oil to make up for the dryness, which in turn makes your hair greasier, and in need of more washings. No ‘poo allows your scalp to function as it was made to, and once it adjusts back to its natural inclinations, your hair will be less greasy between showers. Make sense? So, the beginning of no ‘poo is not the fun part, I admit. But if you want to do it, it can be done. Stick with it.

A lot of people on the internet will tell you to wear hats in the first few weeks of your experiment to conceal your adjusting (greasy) hair. Since that was not an option for me in my place of employment, I simply had to wash my hair as frequently as normal (as opposed to washing it less right from the start–which does actually help your hair adjust faster), using the no ‘poo method and dry shampoo. 

When you start, I suggest washing your hair with this method on your normal hair-washing schedule. Then, slowly add a day, going a little bit longer between washing your hair very gradually. Some people are able to go an entire week without washing their hair, while still looking great!

Troubleshooting: if your hair feels too dry afterward, try using less baking soda next time. If your hair is too oily afterward, use less apple cider vinegar.

Need more troubleshooting help? This girl has a great post with lots of helpful no-poo advice.

If you need convincing that no ‘poo actually works, here is photographic evidence. This is my hair after almost one year of no ‘poo (does someone want to come up with a better name for it??) I’d say it looks pretty normal. I don’t look too crunchy, right?

no-poo-hair-

 
Have you tried no ‘poo? What was your experience with it? If you have not tried it, have I convinced you to yet? Share your thoughts, questions and shampoo anxieties in the comments below!
 
*All Apple Cider Vinegar is not created equal. I linked to my favorite brand, which is widely regarded as the best. I highly recommend it!
 
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The Worst Part About Blogging

Advertising. That’s the worst part. Not wrong, just the worst.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with advertising on blogs. I am part of a couple of affiliate programs, but I have not made a penny from them. Want to know why? I don’t do anything with them. I don’t include links in my posts that are in partnership with anyone else. I don’t, because the very idea hurts a little bit inside.

Anne Shirley describes my feelings exactly in the third book in the Anne series, Anne of the Island (also, partially in the movie Anne of Avonlea). This is after she finds out her best friend submitted her short story to a contest held by a baking powder company, to use for advertising purposes, and her story won:

“I feel as if I were disgraced forever. What do you think a mother would feel like if she found her child tattooed over with a baking powder advertisement? I feel just the same. I loved my poor little story, and I wrote it out of the best that was in me. And it is SACRILEGE to have it degraded to the level of a baking powder advertisement. Don’t you remember what Professor Hamilton used to tell us in the literature class at Queen’s? He said we were never to write a word for a low or unworthy motive, but always to cling to the very highest ideals. What will he think when he hears I’ve written a story to advertise Rollings Reliable? And, oh, when it gets out at Redmond! Think how I’ll be teased and laughed at!”

But.

But… just like I learned a while back that people don’t find JenEric Generation through dreams and visions, I am learning now that people don’t earn money from their blogs without putting a little effort into it. And while I do feel like, by monetizing my blog in any way, I am failing to “cling to the very highest ideals”, the fact is: it’s a rough world we live in.

monetizing-your-blog

Making money from JenEric Generation is not my number one priority. Never has been, never will be. The simple truth is, I love blogging! LOVE it.

So why do you want to make money now, Jenny?

Because money is useful, Dear Person Who Jumped Into This Blog Post And Asked That Question. And even though the value of the dollar is pretty much equivalent to a Facebook “like” these days, I still collect them.

Also, because I put so much work into blogging, why not be smart about it and earn a few bucks doing what I love? Hey, now that’s an idea. It’s that whole “do what you love to make a living” thing. Now, let’s be clear that I am not trying to make a living from blogging, although I wouldn’t stop the person who allowed me to do that. I am being realistic about this.

I am just coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been doing this too long not to utilize what is available to me to earn a few extra dollars. Because don’t we all need a few extra dollars?

So what does this mean for readers of JenEric Generation?

I will tell you, Inquisitive Imaginary Person. Not much is going to change. The only thing that will change is that you might see a few more affiliate links in my posts. Affiliate links are simply links that, if you click on them and make a purchase, allow me to receive a small percentage of what you spend (at no cost to you). Neat, huh?

Here is what will never change: I will never look for excuses to add affiliate links to my posts. I will never recommend a product or book just for the sake of using a link and possibly earning a dollar or two. I will only use affiliate links where I would normally promote a product in the first place. In the past, I have passionately promoted coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, Celtic Sea Salt, countless books, and many other products… all without using affiliate links. I am going to continue to talk occasionally about materialistic things I am excited about. The only difference is, I might add a few links now. That’s it!

Why am I telling you all of this? I know, it is not necessary. I could have just started adding affiliate links (with a disclosure at the beginning of posts, as is required of me by law). But I didn’t want there to be any doubt as to the integrity of anything I promote or review. I would hate to think that you might question my motives.

So! That’s it. That’s my spiel on advertising for JenEric Generation. You can read my advertising disclosure at the bottom of this page, if you are curious.

For now and always: thank you for supporting JenEric Generation just by resting your eyeballs on these here pages. It means the world to me.

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What is your least favorite part about blogging? What are your thoughts on monetizing your blog? Do you do it? Have you had any success? If you don’t have a blog, do you find advertisements annoying? Be honest. If you are a blogger who monetizes her blog, do you also feel like the mother of a baby tattooed with baking powder advertisements?

P.S. Fifteen (other) things we learned from Anne Shirley.

Monday Music-The Dimming of the Day

Hello, and happy Monday!

Last week I shared Eric’s and my first recorded duet. There are two songs left from our recording session, a duet and a solo. Today I am sharing my rendition of The Dimming of the Day, by Richard Thompson. As with the last song, Jack did everything but the vocals. I love what he did with this one.

The Dimming of the Day is one of my all-time favorite songs. I think the lyrics and melody are both so beautiful. It is normally a much slower song, but I am glad we went for the faster tempo. What do you think? Have you heard it before? (Alison Krauss covers it, and this sister duet is another favorite) I hope you enjoy it!

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Mid-year review in books

At the beginning of this year, I made a promise to myself that I would read more. I have always loved to read, but in my adult life I had started to slack off a little bit. When I was a kid I would read late into the night, not caring if I was tired and cranky the next day. These days I value sleep a little bit more, but I don’t want to sacrifice a solid reading life.

I made a goal to read 24 books this year. That’s two books a month. One book every two weeks. It seemed a little scary in January, but doable. I think what I’ve needed to do all along is push myself a little bit further, and make the commitment to do it, because so far, it’s working. I am currently reading book #13, and wondering if maybe I can read even more that 24 books this year. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll do something crazy like 52 books. I’m considering it.

Here is what I have read this year so far:

jenericgeneration-booklist-2014

I love knowing how fellow bibliophiles select their reading lists. Do you make a list for yourself at the beginning of the year? Do you set goals? Do you read one author’s work straight through before moving on?

I don’t have a set list in mind at the beginning of the year, but I usually have a few I am impatient to get to. I also have an extensive to-read list on goodreads.com (are we friends?) that I peruse every time I finish a book. I generally don’t read a book by the same author twice in a row (I like to mix things up), but I practically ran for Wise Blood, by Flannery O’Connor, after finishing her Mystery and Manners. I might be on a Flannery kick.

Of the books I have read this year, I was surprised by a few: I had avoided reading Gone Girl from a snobbish standpoint, because everyone loves it, and if everyone loves it, can it really be that good? It was good, my friends. If you like twisted and manipulative characters, it might be just the thing for you. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was charming despite the name, and The Problem of Pain was moving and profound.

What books have surprised you this year?

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