Why does my hair feel waxy: causes and what to do?

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Specialist on Shampoo at - ShampooTopics

I’m Amelia. I have been working with hair care product shampoo and conditioner for 6 long years. This website is an outlet of my deep...Read more

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So you have just took shower and feel nice and clean. But still, your hair feels waxy? Nasty feeling. To have healthy, shiny, and smooth hair is everybody’s dream. But on our way to the hair from dreams might stand some obstacles.

Here are possible reasons for waxy hair and measures of how to get rid of waxy hair.

why does my hair feel waxy

What causes waxy buildup?

Our scalp contains sebaceous glands which produce sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that makes our hair healthy and hydrated, evenly distributing in our hair shaft from the roots to the tips of the hair.

But excess sebum makes hair greasy and gives a waxy feeling.

So, the short answer to the question: “Why does my hair feel waxy” is because of the sebum.

There are several possible internal and external factors for hair feeling waxy.

Health issues

The first reason you should rule out health issues. Consult with your doctor if you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, or eczema. You may notice waxy buildup with all these scalp conditions.

These health issues lead to the overproduction of sebum. Excess sebum mixed with product residue and dandruff flakes results in scalp buildup. It leads to waxy hair.

Hair products

Styling products, shampoo, and conditioner are an important part of our hair care. But do you wash your hair correctly? Do you choose the right shampoo for your hair type? Do you take care of your hair accessories as well as your hair? All these external factors are extremely important if you want to get rid of waxy hair.

hair care


There are a lot of shampoo types on market: clarifying shampoo, natural shampoos, sulfate-free shampoo, moisturizing shampoo, etc. All of them have their pros and cons. But you should choose a product based on your hair type.

If you have oily skin don`t use moisturizing shampoos. They will make the situation even worse. Instead, use e.g. volumizing shampoo. It removes excess oil from your scalp and hair.

Using sulfate-free or natural shampoo can lead up to greasy hair. This happens because of the natural oils added to components.

Shampoos with sulfates can dry out your hair by taking away natural oils from your hair. This will result in even more sebum production.


Another problem that may occur is that you use conditioner incorrectly. Remember that you should apply conditioner only on hair strands but not on the scalp.

Putting conditioner on your scalp may lead up to a waxy buildup on hair.

Avoid using conditioners containing silicons. This may also cause product buildup.

You should choose a conditioner according to your hair type. For damaged hair, the best option will be a lightweight conditioner. It will help to keep your hair strands moisturized.

Product buildup

If you feel the waxy texture or greasy hair even after just washing your hair, the possible reason may be a product buildup. It means that the hair products you are using block natural oils, so they can`t get in or out. As a result, your hair feels waxy and looks dull and greasy.

One of the possible reasons is that you are using too many products which build up on the scalp. This can cause scalp irritation and the appearance of dandruff flakes.

Another possible reason is that you don`t wash your hair thoroughly when you use shampoo and conditioner. This also leads to product build-up.

A product build-up may also be caused by dying. It happens because hair dye draws all dirt that has accumulated in your hair over time. This build-up can also make your hair feel waxy.

To avoid product buildup use clarifying shampoo once a week. It removes the accumulation.

Another tip if your hair is feeling waxy use some dry shampoo. Apply a small amount of it on hair roots and it absorbs sebum making your hair feel cleaner and fresher.

As you see a product build-up might be the most comprehensive problem.

Waxy Buildup on Hair Causes and Easy Solutions scaled 1

Hair accessories

The next reason why your hair feel waxy is your hair accessories.

Even such a small thing as a hair tie can cause trouble. They collect oil from hair and, when we reuse them, transport it to the clean hair, giving hair greasy look. To avoid it, try to use hair ties made of smooth fabrics, e.g. satin or silk.

Brushes and combs are also an important part of our hair care. But many people forget to wash them, meanwhile, they are collecting dust and sebum. This residue may also give your hair a waxy and greasy look. Wash them with wash liquid at least once a week.

And last, but not least, is your hair towels. Don`t forget to wash them once in four-five days.


According to dermatologists over-washing your hair can lead to excessive production of sebum. We think that washing our hair more often will remove greasiness.

But, on the contrary, it leads to the opposite effect.

When you wash your hair with harsh shampoos you remove natural oils needed for your scalp. After that sebaceous glands start to produce even more oil for compensation.

So this may also be one of the answers to the question: “Why does my hair feel waxy”.


Another cause leading to waxy buildup is that you don`t rinse your hair thoroughly. If you don`t rinse your hair properly, shampoo and conditioner can residue on your hair and scalp leading to waxy hair.

Remember not to use hot water. It may also lead to waxy buildup as it causes dehydration of your scalp and dry hair.

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Hard water

A widespread problem in the cities is hard water. It contains minerals that, binding to hair and scalp, lead to build-up and affects your hair texture, giving a dry hair feeling.

To minimize the influence of this factor it is recommended to install a water softener. It will remove minerals from the water.

Another and much easier way to gain with hard water is shampoo and conditioner formulated for hard water. They contain special chelating agents that will prevent mineral build-up on your hair and scalp and remove mineral deposits.

Unhealthy diet

One more reason for waxy hair is your diet. Many people consume oily or junk food which reflects on their skin. Eating a lot of unhealthy food may lead up to hormonal changes which trigger your skin, scalp, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles to overproduce sebum. This may be one of the reasons why your hair feel waxy.


On your way to beautiful and healthy hair can also stand such internal factors as stress.

When we are under stress, our body produces cortisol at high levels. It is a hormone that leads to the excessive work of the sebaceous glands. And this is why your hair feels waxy.


As well as stress another possible cause of waxy hair could be certain types of medication.

Testosterone, oral contraceptives, steroids, and hormonal medications can all cause excessive production of sebum. And this, as you already know, is the main reason for waxy buildup.

Hair over-drying

When you blow dry your hair hot air removes moister from it. So after that, your hair feels dry and lucking in healthy luster.

That is why it is recommended to use heat protectant spray while blow-drying your hair.

Another reason for waxy hair after blow drying is the hair static created by hot air. This happens because hairs repel each other because of hair static and this makes your hair a wax-like look.

Some people believe that when you blow dry your hair the outer layer of hair – cuticles – lifts. This gives your hair a less smooth look.


How to get rid of waxy hair?

So now, that we know the answers to the question: “Why does my hair feel waxy”, let’s talk about how to get rid of waxy hair.

Shampoo and conditioner change

If you notice waxy buildup on your hair even right after taking a bath, you probably using the wrong type of shampoo or shampoo that contains harsh chemicals. Try a clarifying shampoo once a week. It removes waxy buildup and scalp buildup.

But be careful – it can be too harsh for your scalp.

Together with the clarifying shampoo, it is recommended to use a silicon-free conditioner. Like that you will avoid dry hair.

Also, it might be a good idea to use hair cair containing natural ingredients, e.g. shampoo containing apple cider vinegar and conditioner that contains coconut oil.

Other natural ingredients that are good for your scalp nourishment are argan oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or aloe vera extract.

Change your diet

Eating a lot of oily and junk food causes the over-production of sebum. It may affect not only your skin but your scalp as well. This might be one of the reasons why your hair feel waxy.

DIY products

If you are daring enough, you can try home remedies. Ingredients could be found in any kitchen: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, black and green tea, or baking soda. These simple products can help you with the question of waxy hair.

The application of apple cider vinegar on your scalp for fifteen minutes may help you to reduce the waxy feeling.

Baking soda can be used as a homemade scrub for your scalp. It helps to break down the wax without taking out essential moisture from your scalp.

It may also prove to be helpful to rinse your hair with black or green tea after showering. It removes waxy residues.

acv hair rinse


Why does my hair feel sticky and waxy?

Because our sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. This leads to a waxy feeling on your hair.

What causes waxy buildup on hair?

There are several possible internal and external factors such as:
health issues
hair products
product buildup
dirty accessories
improper rinsing
hard water
unhealthy diet

How do you get waxy residue out of hair?

shampoo and conditioner change
change your diet
DIY products

Final words on “Why does my hair feel waxy”

Now that you know all the possible reasons why your hair may feel waxy you can fight this problem.

Remember that there are might be more than one reason. Сonsider the problem comprehensively.

Once you identified the cause you can take action.

If none of the measures mentioned above don`t work, you should consult with your doctor to eliminate health issues.

Hoping that this article was of use to you and that these pieces of advice will help you on your way to healthy hair.

shampootopics Author Image
AmeliaSpecialist on Shampoo at - ShampooTopics

I’m Amelia. I have been working with hair care product shampoo and conditioner for 6 long years. This website is an outlet of my deep passion for hair, Shampoo and Conditioner. Basically, I'm here to guide you on shampoo and conditioner.

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