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When your hair feels waxy, it can be uncomfortable.  Even worse, waxy feeling hair can affect the way your hair looks, make it more challenging to style, and make you feel self-conscious.  Why does my hair feel waxy?  If you’re looking for the answer to this question along with tips to help remove that waxy feel from your hair, keep reading!

Why is my hair greasy and waxy after washing?

Why does my hair feel waxy after washing?  If you’re asking this question, you’re likely experiencing a range of emotions, including frustration and confusion.  We understand how frustrating it can be to have your hair still feel waxy or greasy after you’ve just washed it.  After all, isn’t washing supposed to leave your hair feeling clean?  And this is where the confusion part comes in.  What is going on that is causing your hair to still feel waxy?  

While this may sound like a simple question, there is unfortunately not a simple answer.  There are actually a number of different possible explanations for a waxy feel on your hair.  Let’s dive right into those reasons now.  Then we’ll look at some of the possible ways you can get rid of the waxy feel.

Product Build-Up on Hair

Why does my hair feel waxy when wet?  If you have this question, one possible answer is that there is excessive product build up on your hair.  All the various styling and hair care products that you use regularly can leave behind a residue.  Over time, this residue will build up on each strand, causing it to feel weighed down and greasy.

You can even develop product build-up on your hair if you just use more gentle shampoos and conditioners.  However, it is most likely to occur with lower-quality products  or those formulated with silicones.  Hairsprays, styling gels, and creams are also likely to cause product build-up and leave a waxy feel on hair.  We’ll share some tips for removing product build-up in a few moments.

Why is my hair greasy and waxy after washing?

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Also known as eczema of the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis may be the culprit for your waxy-feeling hair.  If you or someone you know suffers from eczema on other parts of the body, you’re likely familiar with the dry or scaly patches it can cause.  

Seborrheic dermatitis is no different.  It can cause the scalp to become red and scaly and can also lead to increased dandruff product.  The oily parts of the scalp are the most likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis.  Because our scalp plays such an important role in keeping our hair healthy, when the scalp is fighting seborrheic dermatitis, it can make it more likely for all the hair to feel waxy or greasy.

New Climates

Do you find yourself asking, “why does my hair feel waxy after washing it?”  Well, if you recently moved or are traveling, that may actually be the cause.  The environment can have a bigger impact on your hair, its health, and its texture than you may believe.

For example, if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution, your hair is more likely to suffer negative consequences.  The pollutants in the air can be absorbed by your hair.  This can change the way your hair feels, and may be causing that annoying waxy feel.  Other possible issues that may be caused by air pollution include redness, itching, excessive production of sebum, pain, dandruff, and even hair loss.

Health or Hormones

In some instances, factors out of your control may be causing your hair to feel waxy.  Hormonal changes can impact the oils produced by our scalp, and thereby may make our hair feel waxy.  If you’ve been trying to answer the question, “why does my hair feel waxy at the ends,” and have already tried making some of the changes shared below, consider scheduling a checkup with your doctor.

There are a variety of physical and mental health conditions that can impact our hair.  Some of these include vitamin deficiencies, stress, and dietary needs.  When you talk with your doctor, explain your concerns and share what you have tried, unsuccessfully, to get rid of the oily, waxy feel.

why does my hair feel waxy and dry

Why does my hair feel waxy after drying?

In the last few sections, we shared some of the possible reasons your hair may feel waxy after washing and while it may even still be wet.  There are a few additional reasons that your hair may be feeling waxy after being dried.  Let’s take a look at them now.

Damage from Bleaching or Coloring

Why does my hair feel waxy after bleaching?  Why does my hair feel waxy after coloring?  Well, believe it or not, the bleaching or coloring could be to blame.  Coloring, and especially bleaching, damage hair, especially when they are not done correctly.  

Damage from bleaching or coloring can include breakage, split ends, brittle strands, or hair that has a gummy-like texture to it.  As you try to combat this damage, you often reach for thick and oily hair moisturizers.  These moisturizers can leave behind residue, which can make your hair feel waxy.

If you wish to bleach or color your hair, it is important to make sure it is done safely and correctly.  This will minimize the damage and keep your hair healthy.  Seeing a professional stylist is the best choice to ensure the bleaching or coloring are done properly.

why does my hair feel waxy after bleaching

Using Heated Styling Tools

Why does my hair feel waxy and dry?  If you frequently style your hair using a blow-dryer, flat iron, curling iron, or other heated tools, they could be to blame.  Heat can damage your hair and make it more likely to break.  Additionally, heated tools can leave behind a waxy feel.

When you use heated tools too frequently, especially without a heat protectant, your hair may almost feel crunchy.  The heat can also leave a thin film over each strand, which is what may be causing the waxy feel.

Not Using the Right Hair Care Products

Why does my shampoo make my hair feel waxy?  If you’re using the wrong shampoo, conditioner, or other styling products they could be causing your hair to feel waxy.  When choosing the right products, it is essential to consider your hair type.

Everyone’s hair is different.  Even if your friend is raving about a particular product, it may not be the right fit for your hair type.  When choosing shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products, you’ll need to factor in the porosity, texture, and elasticity of your hair along with your hair type.  

Always read through the ingredient list before adding a new hair care product to your routine.  If you see any questionable ingredients that may leave excess build-up on your hair, look for something else.  If you aren’t sure what to choose or what to avoid for your hair type, your hairstylist can be an excellent resource.

why does my shampoo make my hair feel waxy

Poor Circulation

If enough blood isn’t circulating through your scalp, it can have a negative impact on the health of your hair.  When your hair isn’t healthy, one possible result is waxy hair.  Taking time to brush your hair regularly or give yourself a scalp massage can help stimulate the flow of blood.

Oily or Dirty Hair Accessories

If your brush and other hair accessories, such as clips, hats, scarves, and towels, aren’t kept clean, it can also lead to waxy-feeling hair.  Oils from your hair can get on these accessories and leave behind a residue.  When you put them in your hair, the oils can transfer back to your hair and leave it feeling waxy or greasy.

Improper Rinsing

Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to rinse your hair?  Some individuals experience waxy feeling hair because they aren’t rinsing their hair out enough in the shower.  If some shampoo or conditioner remains in your hair after your shower, they will definitely have an impact on how your hair feels.

To make sure you rinse everything out of your hair in the shower, just take a few extra minutes standing under the water.  Run your fingers through your hair and gently rub your scalp to help release any shampoo or conditioner that may still be lingering.

woman bathing under natural water

How do you get rid of waxy hair?

Now that we’ve discussed some possible answers to questions such as “why does my hair feel waxy and stringy,” let’s take a look at how to get rid of waxy hair.

Because there are so many potential causes for waxy hair, as we shared above, your first goal should be identifying the underlying issue.  For example, if seborrheic dermatitis is causing your waxy hair, the right treatment will look different from the treatment for hair that is waxy from bleaching and coloring.

Below are some possible solutions for waxy hair.  Again, remember to think about the underlying cause for your waxy hair and choose the solution that sounds like it will help address the issue.

Clarifying Shampoo

If you believe your waxy hair is being caused by product build-up, consider trying a clarifying shampoo.  Clarifying shampoos are specifically designed to remove product build-up from hair and leave hair feeling clean and healthy. 

Another benefit of clarifying shampoo is that it may help improve scalp health.  It can help to balance your scalp’s oils, clear up dandruff, and reduce itchiness and irritation.

Most clarifying shampoos are designed to be used once or twice a month, but it is always a good idea to check the directions for the specific shampoo you purchase.  Here are a few of our favorite clarifying shampoos to take a look at:

How do you get rid of waxy hair?

Choose Different Hair Products

As we shared above, some lower quality hair products can also cause product build-up or irritate your scalp, leaving your hair feeling waxy.  Evaluate the shampoos, conditioners, and other products you use and research whether there are higher-quality options to consider.  You can always consult with your hairstylist to get their recommendations for the best products for your hair type.

Exfoliate Your Scalp

Exfoliating your scalp can help keep it healthier and remove excess oils that may be causing your hair to feel waxy.  This can be a great step to add into anyone’s routine, but it can be especially important for those with seborrheic dermatitis.

Looking for the best scalp exfoliant?  Here are some of our top picks:

Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Washing your hair with apple cider vinegar can help get rid of excess oils.  Unlike some other treatments designed to reduce oil build-up, apple cider vinegar isn’t as drying.  This means that it won’t leave your scalp feeling as dry or prone to peeling or flaking.

ACV for hair

Make Changes to Your Diet

Did you know that the foods you eat can affect your health?  Well, it’s true.  Our hair health is largely impacted by the health of our scalp.  Just as the rest of your skin is healthiest when you’re eating a healthy diet and getting the right nutrients, so is your scalp.  

Eating a diet that includes antioxidants and healthy vitamins can improve the health of your scalp.  Some good foods to reach for include vegetables, berries, chia seeds, nuts, and fatty fishes.  Try to stay away from fatty and greasy foods when possible.

Limit The Use of Heated Styling Tools

Remember, one of the potential causes for waxy hair is using too many heated styling tools.  When possible, try to cut back on your use of these tools that can be damaging to your hair.  We know that sometimes you must use them.  In these instances, be sure to also use a heat protectant to prevent your hair from getting as damaged.  Some of our favorite heat protectants include:

Here’s another idea to try to resolve your waxy hair.


Why does my hair feel waxy in the shower?

There are a few possible reasons that your hair may feel waxy in the shower.  These include excess oil production from your scalp, using an oily shampoo, and product build up on your hair.

Why does my hair feel waxy after using Shea Moisture?

The ingredient list for Shea Moisture includes shea butter along with other heavy oils.  Depending on your hair type, specifically if it is wavy or fine, Shea Moisture could end up weighing down your hair.  The oils and shea butter are not all fully absorbed by the hair and do not wash off completely when you wash your hair.  With this build-up on your hair, you may notice that it has a waxy feel to it.

Why does my hair feel waxy when I use natural shampoo?

Natural shampoos are formulated with different natural oils.  These oils, such as coconut oil, can leave a residue behind on your hair.  This residue, especially as it builds up over time, can make your hair feel waxy.

Why does my hair feel like it has residue?

If your hair feels like it has a waxy residue on it, it may be caused by product build-up.  Various shampoos, conditioners, and other hairstyling products can leave behind a residue on your hair.  Overtime, this residue builds and becomes more and more noticeable.
If your hair feels like it has a residue, we’d recommend using a clarifying shampoo.  Clarifying shampoos work to remove excess product build-up from hair.  Adding a clarifying shampoo into your hair care routine once or twice a month can help prevent the build-up from occurring again and keep that waxy feeling away.

Does drinking water hydrate your hair?

Yes, in addition to being good for your organ function and skin, drinking water can also help keep your hair hydrated.  Aim to drink between eight and nine glasses of water to get the maximum benefits.  When your scalp and hair are hydrated, your hair cells will function properly and keep your hair healthy.

why does my hair feel waxy when wet

Closing Thoughts

There are a number of possible reasons that your hair may feel waxy.  Hopefully, you’ve gained some insight into what is causing your hair to feel waxy and have identified some solutions to try.  Following the tips we shared above should help you improve the look and feel of your hair.

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