Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy (Even After Washing & Drying)

After taking a shower, you should feel fresh, and your hair should be soft and shiny. But, this doesn’t always happen to be the case.

So, you may be wondering why you notice waxy buildup on hair? There are many common reasons why this may happen, but there are also simple solutions to getting rid of this annoying problem.

Why does my hair feel waxy?

There are a few common mistakes and just things we do in day-to-day life that can give hair a waxy texture.

1. Seborrhea

One of the most common reasons for waxy hair is a skin condition called seborrhea. If you notice that aside from your hair being waxy that your scalp is red and itchy, then this is most definitely your case.

Seborrhea causes the sebaceous glands in your hair to secrete extra oil and leads to waxy build-up on hair. Then, yeast will come to feast on your oily scalp and cause even more irritation. This condition usually appears due to an imbalance in hormones.

2. Hair Tools

curling iron

After a shower, most people use hair tools like brushes, combs, and more. These items can collect dust, sebum, and dirt over time.

If they aren’t properly washed occasionally, they can also make hair appear waxy and oily. Make sure your towels are also washed and dried routinely. Many people make the mistake of not washing their towels often enough, so don’t be that person!

3. Hair Texture

The type of hair texture you have may also be contributing to the feeling of waxiness. Straight and fine hair usually is more likely to seem sticky or oily.

The sebum secreted from the scalp covers a straight strand of hair easily, so this is the reason why you are in luck if your hair is curly or thick.

4. Shampoo Types

Davines Purifying Shampoo for scalp smell

If you notice waxy, greasy hair after washing, then the items you use while showering may be the root of the problem.

Using a natural shampoo in the hope of moisturizing hair may lead to sticky hair. Most natural shampoos contain many types of oils, such as coconut oil or rosemary oil. Although these products have many benefits, they are also known to make hair appear greasy.

On the other side of the spectrum are shampoos with an excessive amount of chemicals (surfactants). Although these deeply clean your hair, they also completely remove any natural oils your hair produces.

This activates a sebum production pathway in your scalp as an emergency response, which can lead to excessive oil and greasy hair.

5. Conditioner

hair conditioner

Is your hair waxy and sticky after a shower? Then you may be using your conditioner incorrectly. You should only apply conditioner to the very ends of hair and never the roots.

If you apply conditioner to the scalp, the hydrating elements of the product may end up clogged in the pores. This leads to oil residue build-up and waxy hair.

If you think that you are applying conditioner correctly, then do some research on whether it is the right conditioner for your hair texture. The general rule of thumb is to avoid using conditioner completely if you have thin straight hair, or just stick to a lightweight conditioner.

6. Product Residue

Leaving any product in your hair that isn’t meant to be there can be an answer to the question of why does your hair feel waxy after washing. This includes everything from serums and heat protectants to dry shampoo.

It is vital that you spray only the necessary amount of any product in your hair; otherwise, the pH change can lead to greasy hair.

This applies to hair masks, shampoos, and conditioners as well. Make sure your rinse well while showering to remove waxy build-up from hair.

7. Water Quality

Contrary to what everyone thinks, hotter water doesn’t mean better cleaning of the hair. In fact, high temperatures in the shower can lead to extreme dehydration of the scalp.

Similar to the situation mentioned above, this leads to an emergency sebum response and a high level of oil production. Aside from temperature, the quality of water may also affect the texture of hair.

If you are constantly showering under hard water, your hair may be stripped of oils and not absorb minerals, which can lead to a waxy feeling.

8. Frequent Hair Washing

Washing hair is a never-ending and sometimes evil cycle. You notice your hair looking oily, take frequent showers, dehydrate your scalp, and finally end up activating even more oil production.

There is no need to take a shower every day if your hair feels waxy after shower. Try using dry shampoo or other products instead of washing immediately.

How to Get Rid of Waxy Hair

1. Shampoo Change

different redken shampoos

If you notice waxy greasy hair after washing, maybe your shampoo isn’t formulated for your hair type or is irritating your scalp, then it’s time to change some things up.

Try purchasing a clarifying shampoo and add it to your shower routine. Be careful; these shampoos can be harsh, so don’t use too much or too often.

These shampoos are designed to remove any build-up on your scalp from other hair products. After some use, you may notice that your hair doesn’t feel as waxy anymore.

If you notice that clarifying shampoo is too harsh on your scalp, then pick out a gentler shampoo. Look for formulas with capryl glucoside, which is a chemical that exfoliates hair without stripping it of the necessary natural oils.

2. DIY Remedies

There are many household items in your kitchen that may help with the question of how to get rid of waxy hair.

For example, applying apple cider vinegar to your scalp and leaving it for about fifteen minutes may help reduce the waxy feeling of hair. You can also try mixing freshly squeezed lemon juice with water and applying it to your hair as a mask for twenty minutes.

After a shower, rinsing hair with green or black tea may also prove to be helpful in removing waxy residues.

3. Conditioner Change

When applying conditioner, try to avoid the scalp and the areas near it. This product is intended only for the ends of the hair and will lead to more side effects than benefits on the scalp.

Apply from the hair near the ears and continue slathering the conditioner downwards toward the ends. Next time you go to purchase more conditioner, read the labels and try to find one that is lightweight. These formulas are designed to wash out and not clog pores with residue.

4. Keep Hair Items Clean

Anything that touches your hair must be clean to avoid issues such as waxy hair. Routinely wash and dry your brushes, combs, towels, and caps well.

If your coat hood or scarf also touches your scalp, make sure you keep those clean as well.

5. Rinse Well

Even if you are rushing in the shower, never skimp on the rinsing step. It is vital that you wash out the applied shampoo and conditioner well and thoroughly.

Even if a very small amount remains on your scalp, it can lead to excessive oil production and product build-up. If you are asking why your hair feels waxy after drying yet aren’t rinsing thoroughly, then the answer is very clear.

Avoid rinsing with scalding hot water and opt for a lukewarm temperature instead to open pores and cuticles for cleaning.

washing waxy hair


Now that you have learned why hair can feel waxy and how to prevent it, here are some more frequently asked questions concerning hair.

Can hard water cause waxy hair?

Yes! Hard water is the main cause of dehydration in the scalp. The minerals in the water can also interact with the oils of your hair and make the ends feel waxy. Hard water can also reduce the effectiveness of your shampoo and conditioner.

Why does my shampoo leave a residue?

If your shampoo is leaving behind residue, it is most likely due to the synthetic silicones found in the formula.

These are integrated into shampoo to coat your hair and leave you with the impression that it’s “smoother .”In the case that you notice significant residue on your scalp, this is a sign to change your shampoo and find something with better ingredients.

How do I know if my hair is over moisturized?

Moisture is great for hair but in a moderate amount. When your hair feels too soft to the point where it appears dull, then this is a symptom of over-moisturizing.

You may also notice a larger number of split ends. If this is the case, then you should stop using shampoo and conditioner with many moisturizing ingredients.

Why does my hair feel waxy after drying?

There are a variety of reasons why hair may feel waxy after drying, including the used shampoo and conditioner, the water quality, and the cleanliness of your hair tools.

In Conclusion

If you have noticed your hair feeling sticky or waxy, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

Take care of your hair tools, change up your shampoo and conditioner, and follow our other tips and we can guarantee smooth and silky hair in no time.

If you have any secret remedies you have tried for waxy hair then let us know down below!

Also read:


  1. Seborrhea: What It Is and How to Treat It – https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0501/p2713.html
  2. How Often Do I Need to Shampoo? – https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/how-often-wash-hair

Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

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