Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? 3 Ways To Fix It.

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We’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business, going about your day-to-day routines, when suddenly you run your fingers through your hair and…something’s not right.

Your hair feels heavy, greasy, and just plain icky. What gives?

The answer, dear reader, is that your hair is most likely waxy.

But why does this happen? And more importantly, how can you fix it?

We’re about to dive into the world of waxy hair and give you the tools you need to get your locks back to their lustrous selves in no time. Let’s go.

Top 4 reasons your hair feels waxy

Oil build up

Product build up

Using the wrong shampoo

Not rinsing your hair properly

Hard water

Why does my hair feel waxy?

Here are the top four reasons your hair will feel waxy:

Oil build up

Sebum is an oily substance that’s produced by the sebaceous glands in our scalp. It helps to keep our hair healthy and hydrated by providing a natural conditioner and UV protection.

When everything is working properly, the sebum is evenly distributed from the roots to the tips of our hair. But sometimes, things go awry.

This can happen for a number of reasons, including overusing styling products, using the wrong shampoo or conditioner, or even seasonal changes (hello, winter hat hair!). 

When the sebum gets trapped on the scalp instead of being evenly distributed, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including dandruff, an itchy scalp, and yes—waxy hair. It

When this happens, the oil builds up and weighs down the hair, resulting in that greasy, heavy feeling. 

Product build-up

Product build-up can also cause your hair to look dull and lifeless. This is because the build-up creates a barrier on the hair shaft that prevents moisture and oils from getting in or out. In other words, your hair can’t breathe!

Not only does this make your hair look unhealthy, but it can also cause scalp irritation. And we all know that an irritated scalp is never a good time.

To avoid product build-up, make sure to use a clarifying shampoo every week or two to remove any accumulation.

You should also be careful about the products you use in your hair. Opt for lightweight, water-based formulas rather than products containing sulfates or silicones, that won’t leave a residue.

Using the wrong shampoo

Sometimes, the root of the problem is as simple as using the wrong shampoo.

If you have oily skin, for example, you’ll want to steer clear of creamy, moisturizing shampoos as they can actually make your oiliness worse.

Instead, look for a clarifying or volumizing formula that will help to remove excess oils and give your hair some much-needed lift.

Not rinsing your hair properly

If you’re noticing that your once-shiny strands are now looking a bit lackluster, product build-up could be to blame.

But another possible culprit is improper rinsing. When you don’t rinse your hair thoroughly, shampoo and conditioner can be left behind, leading to dull, lifeless hair.

To make sure you’re rinsing properly, start by wetting your hair thoroughly with warm water.

Then, apply a generous amount of shampoo to your scalp and massage it in for about 60 seconds.

Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary. Be sure to also rinse your conditioner out completely—leaving it in for too long can lead to weigh down the hair.

Hard water

If you have hard water, you may notice that your hair feels especially waxy after washing it. This is because hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can bind to the hair and scalp, leading to build-up.

If you think hard water may be the culprit, there are a few things you can do to mitigate its effects.

First, install a water softener in your home if you don’t already have one. This will help to remove some of the minerals from the water before they have a chance to bind to your hair.

An easier and less expensive way is to look for shampoos and conditioners that are formulated for use with hard water. These products typically contain chelating agents that help to remove mineral build-up from the hair.

why does my hair feel waxy after shampooing

How do I know if I have waxy hair? 

There are a few telltale signs that you’ve got a wax build-up problem on your hands.

In addition to feeling heavy and greasy, waxy hair will often look flat and lifeless.

It may also be difficult to style; if you find that your usual hairstyles aren’t working as well as they used to or that your hair just isn’t holding its shape the way it used to, wax build-up could be the culprit. 

Another sign of waxy hair is dandruff. Sebum is actually a natural anti-dandruff agent, so when there’s too much of it on the scalp, it can actually cause dandruff by throwing off the scalp’s natural balance.

If you’re seeing an uptick in dandruff flakes, it’s time to take action against wax build-up. 

Overall, if your hair is looking dull, feeling heavy, or is difficult to style, you may be dealing with a wax build-up problem.

How do I get rid of waxy hair? 

Fortunately, getting rid of waxy hair is relatively simple—although it may take a bit of trial and error to find the right method for your particular scalp type.

1.Use clarifying shampoo.

Look for a clarifying shampoo that contains ingredients like baking soda or apple cider vinegar; these substances will help break down the wax without stripping away essential moisture from the scalp or harming delicate strands. 

2.Washing your hair with dish soap

Yes, really! The same dish soap that you use to wash your dishes will also remove wax build-up from your hair. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards; dish soap can be very harsh on both skin and hair if not rinsed away completely. 

3.Try DIY solutions

If all else fails you can try using natural formulas like vinegar rinses or lemon juice mixtures (just Google “DIY clarifying shampoo” for recipes).

However, we recommend proceeding with caution when using these methods; they can be quite drying on both skin and hair and may not be suitable for everyone. 

Watch and learn: How to get rid of waxy or greasy hair using baking soda.

Here’s an awesome video that shows you how to get rid of grease and wax using natural ingredients you already have in your store cupboard.

Why does my hair feel waxy after washing?

There are a few different reasons why your hair might feel waxy after shampooing.

One possibility is that you’re not rinsing the shampoo out of your hair thoroughly enough. If shampoo isn’t rinsed out properly, it can leave behind a residue that can make your hair feel heavy and greasy.

Another possibility is that you’re using too much shampoo. When you use more shampoo than you need, it can be difficult to rinse it all out completely. As a general rule, you should use about a quarter-size amount of shampoo for each wash. 

If you suspect that either of these might be the cause of your waxy hair, there’s an easy fix: just make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly, and don’t use more shampoo than you need.

However, there’s one other possible explanation for why your hair feels waxy after shampooing. It could be that your shampoo is too rich for your hair type. 

If you have fine or thin hair, you should look for a light or volumizing shampoo. These types of shampoos won’t weigh down your hair or leave behind a residue.

If you have thick or curly hair, you might want to try a moisturizing or hydrating shampoo. These types of products can help to tame frizz and make hair easier to style.

Of course, if you’re not sure what type of shampoo is right for you, don’t hesitate to ask your stylist for advice. 

Why does my hair feel waxy after drying?

Have you ever noticed that your hair feels waxy after you blow dry it, even though you don’t use any hair products? It’s not just you – this is a phenomenon that happens to a lot of people, and nobody seems to know why.

One theory is that the heat from the blow dryer creates a static charge in your hair. This static charge then causes the individual strands of hair to repel each other, which gives your hair awax-like feel.

Another theory is that when your hair is wet, the cuticle – which is the outermost layer of your hair – lays flat against the shaft. However, when you blow dry your hair, the heat from the dryer causes the cuticle to lift up slightly, which makes your hair feel rougher and less smooth. 

Interestingly, there are some people who believe that the waxy feeling is actually caused by over-drying your hair.

When you blow dry your hair too much, it can strip away moisture and leave your locks feeling parched and lacking in luster.

If you’re someone who often struggles with this problem, make sure to use a leave-in conditioner or heat protectant spray before you start blow drying. This will help to keep your hair hydrated and looking its best. 

Why does my hair feel waxy after dyeing it?

The number one reason your hair feels waxy after dying it is because of product buildup.

When you dye your hair, the dye can act as a magnet for all the dirt and grime that’s accumulated in your hair over time. This build-up can weigh your hair down and make it look greasy. 

In addition to product buildup, another common cause of waxy hair is over-conditioning. When you condition your hair, you’re essentially coating each strand with a thin layer of oil. This is great for adding shine and combating frizz—but if you use too much conditioner, or if you don’t rinse it out properly, your hair can end up looking greasy instead of healthy. 

Try using a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove product buildup from your scalp and strands.

If your issue is over-conditioning, be sure to rinse thoroughly after applying conditioner—and consider using a leave-in conditioner instead of a traditional conditioning treatment so that you don’t weigh your hair down with too much moisture.

Finally, if all else fails, reach for some dry shampoo! A few quick sprays will soak up excess oil and give your hair a much-needed refresh. 

Parting words

We hope this blog post has helped to shed some light on the phenomenon of waxy hair. Remember, if you’re struggling with this issue, there are a few things you can do to fix it.

Use a clarifying shampoo once a week, be sure to rinse your conditioner out properly, and don’t forget to use dry shampoo as needed. With these tips, you should be able to get your hair back to looking and feeling its best in no time!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!