Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing? (Answered)

If your hair feels waxy after washing, this can be more than a little frustrating. There are a whole host of reasons why this might be happening- all of which lead to too much oil in your hair. In this article, we will look at why this might be happening and how you can tackle it.

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing

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Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing?

The main reason your hair feels waxy after washing is because of build-up. Build-up is caused by hair products such as heavy conditioners, oils, sprays and creams. Waxy hair could also be caused by natural oil build-up on your scalp.

Let’s look at these reasons in more detail:

Your shampoo contains oil

If you use a natural shampoo to show your hair some TLC, this could be part of the problem.

Natural shampoos are often blended with various oils which can leave behind a residue, making your hair waxy.


If you have waxy build-up on your hair, it may be as a result of the skin condition, seborrhea, which is commonly occurring.

This causes the sebaceous glands to produce excessive oil, resulting in an oily scalp and oily hair.

In some cases, this can be due to a hormone imbalance.

Seborrheic dermatitis is also a possible cause of dandruff, the issue of scaly patches on the scalp.

This is a common skin condition and the patches can cause discomfort and may flake off.

Type Of Hair

The type of hair a person has is also a factor that can contribute to waxy hair. Hair which is straight or fine is more likely to appear waxy than thick curly hair.

This is because sebum can cover the whole strand of straight or fine hair more easily.

Re-using Items

Items such as towels, hairbrushes, combs, hats, and scarves can pick up sebum from the scalp through regular use.

Failure to wash these items between uses can contribute to hair feeling sticky hair after washing.

Chemical Shampoos

Conversely, you may use a shampoo that is full of surfactants (hard chemicals). While these clean your hair, they also strip the hair’s natural oils.

This triggers the scalp to start producing oil, sometimes excessively, to counteract this. And this leads to greasy hair.


Hair Feels Waxy After Washing

It is just the ends of our hair that require conditioner.

Using too much conditioner throughout our hair can lead to the hydrating ingredients in the product being left on the scalp, which traps oil and results in waxiness.

If you feel using too much conditioner is not the issue, consider if you are using the right conditioner for your hair type.

If your hair is fine or thin, or prone to being oily, then you might want to avoid using conditioner intended for someone with thick textured hair.

Think about using a light-weight conditioner, or even a spray conditioner.

Not Rinsing Properly

If you haven’t rinsed the shampoo and conditioner from your hair thoroughly, the ingredients can become trapped in your scalp.

This can affect the pH of your hair, contributing to waxy hair.

Product Build-up

A build-up of product in your hair will make it feel greasy. This can come from anything you use: serums, hair sprays, heat protectants, dry shampoos.

Rinsing With Too Hot Shampoos

Very hot water can lead to dehydration in the scalp. This triggers the scalp to try to hydrate by producing sebum, which can lead to excessive oil production.

Washing Hair Too Often

This is the vicious cycle: your hair is a little oily for some reason, so you wash your hair more often.

This increase in washing hair dries out hair and scalp, triggering the production of, yes, you guessed it, excessive oil.


Your diet can also play a part in waxy hair. Dairy and a high-glycemic diet can affect androgen hormones that influence the skin’s production of sebum.

how to get rid of waxy hair

How To Fix Waxy Hair 

Luckily for you, if you are experiencing waxy hair after washing, there are lots of things you can try to alleviate this.

How to remove waxy build-up from hair:

  • Use a clarifying shampoo
  • Avoid heavy oil or wax- based hair products
  • Keep hairbrushes, combs, towels, hats etc clean to avoid spreading oil around
  • Try not to over wash hair
  • Use lukewarm water to rinse hair
  • Consider cutting dairy from your diet

Let’s look at these methods in more detail:

Use A Clarifying Shampoo

Using a clarifying shampoo once a week will rid your hair and scalp of oil build-up and residue left behind by hair products.

Pick a shampoo that is specifically made for waxy hair, such as the Bumble and Bumble Sunday shampoo.

It’s not cheap but it is one of the best, if not the best clarifying shampoo on the market. Using a clarifying shampoo will help to remove waxy build-up from your hair.

You can get the Bumble and Bumble Sunday shampoo from Amazon here

Natural Remedies

Green tea-infused products is another great way to remove waxy build-up from hair and scalp.

A 2016 study found that greasiness decreased after 28 days of use. Green tea has properties that help control androgen conditions.

Apple cider vinegar is another potential remedy. An application of this, left for ten minutes, can help combat waxy hair.

Don’t Over-Condition

Slathering a lot of conditioner over the hair and scalp can result in the ingredients becoming trapped which boosts excessive oil production.

The optimum way to apply conditioner is to apply it from the base of your ears downwards. This helps avoid an oily greasy scalp.

Light-weight Conditioner

Try using a lightweight conditioner- make sure to steer clear of the roots.

A lightweight product is less likely to build up or become trapped on the scalp.

Avoid Heavy Styling Products

Try to avoid using heavy oil or wax-based styling products. These can add to residue in the hair and lead to a build-up, which can trigger excess oil production.

Keep Hair Tools Clean

Clean items like hairbrushes, combs, towels, and hats between hair washes.

This avoids a build-up of sebum on the items, which then gets transferred back onto the hair.


Consider cutting down on or cutting out certain foods from your diet. Dairy is thought to cause clogged-up pores in the scalp, resulting in waxy hair.

Avoid Daily Hair Washing

Washing hair too frequently can lead to dry hair and scalp. Natural oils are stripped from the scalp.

In response, the scalp produces an excess of oil to compensate, leading to greasy waxy hair.

Use A Gentle Shampoo

Not only can the frequency of washing your hair affect the oiliness, but also the formula used.

Many shampoos on the market help perpetuate the cycle of washing your hair to get rid of the waxiness, chemicals in shampoo stripping the hair of natural oils, and the scalp producing more to balance this out.

Try swapping your shampoo blended with sulfates for one that is formulated with capryl glucoside. This cleanses hair without removing the natural oils.

Oil Awareness

If you have switched to a natural shampoo, this could be adding to your waxy hair problem, as these shampoos tend to be laden with oils.

These can be difficult to rinse out, leading to waxy hair.

If you want to keep it natural but avoid the waxiness, look for shampoos that are formulated with tea tree oil, aloe vera, and lavender.

Jojoba oil is a good ingredient to look out for as it helps decrease oil production.

Double Shampoo

It is widely recommended by stylists to wash, lather, rinse then repeat. The first round will remove dirt and build-up, while the second round will cleanse your scalp.

Right Combination

For healthy hair and scalp, and to help fight the waxiness, you need to strike the right balance with your shampoo and conditioner. They do not need to match.

The trick to balancing your shampoo and conditioner is getting the right amount of moisture but avoiding too much heavy product.

If your shampoo provides good moisture, then perhaps pair it with a lighter conditioner.

Perfect The Art Of Rinsing

Even if you’re in a hurry, ensure you rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of your hair thoroughly.

Failure to do this will mean the ingredients of the shampoo or conditioner will become trapped and additional oils will be secreted and you may end up with sticky hair after washing.

In addition, avoid very hot water when you rinse. Rinse your hair with warm or lukewarm water.

This helps the cuticles open so the shampoo can get in there and do its job.

Steering clear of very hot water means you reduce the risk of a dehydrated scalp and excess oil production.

Love Your Scalp

Don’t neglect your scalp.

In the war on wax, your skin and pores are crucial. Avoid pore-cloggers like silicones. Instead, choose products intended to remove build-up and balance the scalp.

Treat your scalp to a mud mask every few months to replenish it.

See A Professional

If seborrhea is the problem and it is not improving with home treatments, then seek advice from a doctor.

They can check for any underlying health issues, such as hormone imbalance, which may be the cause of the excess oil production leading to waxiness.

You could also seek advice from a dietician, to help examine your diet in case it is contributing to excessive oil production.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

The answer to this varies depending on your hair type.

Experts recommend washing thin fine hair about 2-3 times a week. This hair type tends to get waxy quicker as the oil can coat the strands more easily.

Coarse or textured hair can go longer as it tends to be drier. The recommended number of washes for this type of hair is 1-2 washes.

However, outside factors influence this.

If you do a lot of sweaty workouts, use a lot of styling products, or are subjected to polluted environments regularly then you might feel the need to wash your hair more regularly than this.

Ingredients To Avoid

In your quest to avoid waxy hair, a few ingredients to avoid include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Sulfates
  • Parabens

Now you have an arsenal to fight waxy hair, you can conquer the wax and enjoy beautifully clean hair.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Drying?

If your hair feels waxy after drying, it could be because your hair is not entirely clean. Ensure you use shampoo to get rid of product build-up and use lighter hair products instead of heavy oils and creams. Also, check if you live in a hard water area as this can cause hair to turn greasy.

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy In The Back?

You may not have washed your entire hair with shampoo if the back of your hair feels waxy. Wash your hair again and use a scalp brush. Sweat and oil may also build up on your scalp so if you have oily hair, wash your hair more frequently.

How Do You Know If You Have Build-up In Your Hair?

Product build-up causes your hair to turn waxy and greasy and you may even begin to experience dandruff. You may see a white layer of sebum on your scalp which can be itchy. If this is the case, use a clarifying shampoo to remove the build-up.

Why Does Some Shampoo Leave Residue?

Some shampoos contain oil and ingredients that can leave residue on the scalp. They may also contain silicone which helps to make your hair soft, but silicone leaves a waxy layer on your scalp that can cause residue and build-up.

How Do You Clarify Your Hair Naturally?

You can use household items such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clarify your hair naturally. Bentonite clay, sea salt, and tea tree oil have also been known to work.

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