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Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing?

If you can relate to the question, “Why does my hair feel waxy after washing?”, then you are at the right place. Waxy hair can be irritating and rather unpleasant to touch, but you should not let it rob you of your happiness. There are simple, inexpensive remedies you can use to reverse this condition.  

Excessive oil build-up on your hair is the primary cause of waxy hair. This can be attributed to health-related conditions or external factors. Product accumulation, damaged hair, partial hair wash, and the use of hard water are some of the known contributing factors. In addition, your scalp can produce excess oil to compensate for natural oil loss due to frequent washing.

 Ideally, healthy, clean hair should have a smooth texture, a clean scalp, a shiny look, and a good moisture retention ability. However, Waxy hair is brittle and prone to breaking because it does not allow enough water to penetrate it.  

The Waxy Feel

Waxy hair is typically characterized by an oily, greasy, or sticky feeling that persists even after washing. Interestingly, a thorough hair wash and a healthy hair routine do not necessarily guarantee non-greasy hair. 

Hair Types Susceptible to the Waxy Feel

Certain hair types are more susceptible to the waxy feel than others. Straight, wavy, and curly hair types tend to be prone to waxy hair. However, people with straight hair are likely to experience a waxy feeling more than people with curly hair. This can be attributed to how easily sebum is distributed in straight hair. 

Causes of Waxy Hair

Your hygiene, environmental and health factors dictate whether or not your hair will be waxy or not. We look at health-related and external causes of waxy hair below. 

A person’s well-being can play a critical role in determining whether or not they will have oily hair. Seborrheic dermatitis and hormonal imbalance are the leading causes of oily hair.

waxy hair

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Scalp build-up due to dead-skin flakes, oily skin, and itching can easily result in waxy hair. This condition is referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. The scalp build-up can also clog your hair follicles leading to hair loss and infections. This build-up is what will give a person the greasy feel.

Hormonal Imbalance 

Changes resulting in hormonal increase or reduction in the bloodstream can affect the sebum production in your body. Sebum is an oily matter whose purpose is to lubricate the hair and the skin. Excessive production of sebum can result in greasy hair.

External Factors

  • Various elements within and beyond human control contribute to waxy hair. Some of these are;
  • Excessive use of hair styling products, scalp ointments, and moisturizing products. This may lead to product build-up and eventually waxy hair.
  • Failure to rinse the hair thoroughly may lead to product residue build-up, which leaves a greasy texture on your hair. 
  • Air pollutants in our environment may lead to an itchy scalp, excessive sebum secretion, and other related issues. The flakes from the scalp can easily contribute to a build-up.
  • Constant use of substandard hair products can damage the hair and cause a waxy feel.
  • Frequent washing of hair might trigger excessive oil production by the scalp as a counter-reaction to the loss of natural oil.

Preventing Waxy Hair 

The following are some measures you can take to prevent waxy hair.

  • Applying proper hair washing techniques is vital in preventing waxy hair.
  • Know your hair type and identify quality hair products that favor your hair type.  
  • Use clean accessories to prevent sebum build-up. This also prevents dirt and oil transfer into your clean hair.
  • Embrace protective styling to shield your hair from unfavorable weather conditions.
  • A healthy balanced diet will keep your hormones in check.
  • Use lightweight products for your hair routine.
  • Avoid frequent or daily hair wash routine that is likely to cause scalp dryness.
  • Rinse your hair well after a wash routine to flush out the chemicals.

Treating Waxy Hair 

To identify an effective remedy, you will need to establish what is causing your hair to be waxy even after a thorough wash.

Deep Cleaning Shampoos 

For waxy hair caused by product build-up, consider deep cleansing shampoos, popularly known as clarifying shampoos. They basically declutter the hair by clearing product build-up leaving clean, soft hair. Clarifying Shampoos are very strong. They should, therefore, only be used once a month. Otherwise, it might be counterproductive. 

deep hair shampoo

Home Remedies for Waxy Hair 

Several home remedies can relieve waxy hair, such as apple cider vinegar rinse, baking soda rinse, and dish soap rinse. Dish soap rinse is the least favored among the three because it can be very harsh. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Apart from its acidic nature, Apple cider vinegar has other qualities that make it ideal for treating the root cause of wax build-up.  

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar to treat waxy hair 

  • Add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts of water
  • Use a spray bottle to pour the vinegar solution on your scalp and hair immediately after shampooing. 
  • Wait for 5 minutes, then rinse your hair thoroughly  
  • Condition your hair and style normally.  

Massaging apple cider vinegar into your dry hair 10 minutes before shampooing can also help remove excess hair grease. However, caution is advised since these claims are not backed by any research.


Waxy hair is a fairly common problem. While some people might cope with it, others may find it somewhat irritating. However, whatever the case, measures should be taken to address waxy hair. This is because waxy hair is prone to breaking but can also signify an underlying health condition. 

It’s essential to identify the root cause of the problem to identify an effective remedy for waxy hair. For medical-related triggers, a visit to the dermatologist is highly recommended.   

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