Skip to Content

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? 5 Causes & Fixes of 2023

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

why does my hair feel waxyStruggling with waxy hair? You’re not alone. From incorrect use of products to environmental factors and even scalp conditions, there are a number of reasons why your hair might feel waxy after washing or styling.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the causes behind why your hair feels waxy and how you can get rid of it once and for all.

Key Takeaways

  • Waxy hair can be caused by incorrect use or excessive use of hair products, overwashing, dirty hair accessories, and scalp conditions.
  • Tips to get rid of waxy hair include using products sparingly, investing in a shower filter, choosing products without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and considering clarifying treatments.
  • Different water types, environmental factors, diet, medications, and stress can also contribute to waxy hair.
  • Adjustments to hair care routine and targeted treatments can help restore natural shine and eliminate waxy buildup.

How to Get Rid of Waxy Hair

why does my hair feel waxy 1
To address waxy buildup on your scalp, start by using product sparingly and following instructions closely. Consider investing in a shower filter to reduce mineral deposits or treating yourself to a salon treatment.

Selecting the right products can be key. Look for natural ingredients without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) as this will help minimize waxiness.

Additionally, it’s important to monitor scalp health and keep sebaceous glands clean with regular cleansing treatments like Kenra Clarifying Shampoo or Wig & Weave Residue Remover Shampoo from SheaMoisture.

If you’re still experiencing too much buildup even after taking these steps into account, then the Malibu Treatment may be beneficial as an intensive clarifier. It helps break down all of that excess residue weighing hair down and curbing growth at the root.

To avoid any future issues, make sure you are double-showering when necessary. This ensures that all products are removed completely from strands before styling again with freshly washed hair each time.

Incorrect Use of Hair Products

Incorrect Use of Hair Products
Falling into the trap of using too many styling products or not washing and rinsing your hair properly can quickly lead to waxy buildup, so keep an eye on how much product you’re applying and be sure to double-shampoo when needed.

Waxy hair is caused by a combination of factors, including heavy ingredients in styling products, infrequent washing, improper rinsing, and mineral deposits from shower water. Furthermore, incorrect use of shampoos designed for different types of hair textures or excessive usage results in buildup, which leads to dullness with lackluster shine while weighing down strands.

To prevent this issue from occurring, opt for a natural shampoo without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) as it helps minimize waxiness while reducing sebum production that causes oils at the scalp level, resulting in limp locks.

Clarifying shampoos, such as Kenra Clarifying Shampoo or Davines SOLU Refreshing Solution Shampoo, help dissolve any residue left behind by regular haircare routines.

Keeping these tips handy will ensure healthy tresses free from excessive waxiness associated with incorrect use of hairstyling products!

Excessive Use of Hair Products

Excessive Use of Hair Products
You may be using too many styling products, which can lead to an accumulation of waxy buildup that weighs down your hair and gives it a dull look. To prevent this damage from occurring, opt for lightweight products with natural ingredients such as sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.

This helps minimize waxiness while reducing sebum production at the scalp level, resulting in healthier strands.

For oily hair or product residue buildup, consider investing in clarifying shampoos like Kenra Clarifying Shampoo or Davines SOLU Refreshing Solution Shampoo to dissolve any residue left behind by regular haircare routines.

Additionally, make sure you are using the right type of water for washing your hair.

Lastly, remember that proper scalp care is paramount. Regularly exfoliating will remove any dirt or grime from clogging pores, ultimately leading to healthy locks free from excessive waxiness associated with improper hairstyling!

Overwashing Your Hair

Overwashing Your Hair
Overtime, overwashing your hair can strip it of its natural oils and cause a waxy buildup. To avoid this, use sulfate-free shampoos that are designed for deep cleansing without stripping the scalp of essential oils.

If you’re using hard water or mineral-rich water to wash your hair, consider installing a shower filter to reduce those additives in the rinse cycle.

Clarifying shampoos like Kenra Clarifying Shampoo or Davines SOLU Refreshing Solution Shampoo will help remove any excess residue left behind from styling products and regular washes.

  • Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner regularly
  • Install an AquaBliss SF100 shower filter if necessary
  • Invest in clarifying shampoo treatments as needed
  • Monitor scalp conditions and adjust care routine accordingly

Dirty Hair Accessories

Dirty Hair Accessories
Dirty hair accessories like hair ties, clips, and headbands trap oils, product residue, and environmental pollutants against your hair and scalp over time.

It’s crucial to regularly wash cloth-covered accessories and disinfect hard plastic ones with rubbing alcohol to prevent waxy residue.

Make sure to thoroughly rinse all product out after washing and use sulfate-free shampoos to avoid stripping hair of moisture. Stimulate follicles with scalp massage while shampooing using gentle scrubbing motions.

For a weekly cleansing boost, apply an apple cider vinegar rinse and let it sit before rinsing out. Keeping accessories clean is key, but don’t overdo cleansing, which can worsen dry, waxy hair.

Monitor your scalp and hair’s condition to find the optimal wash routine. Adjust product use and accessory cleaning as needed to prevent waxy buildup.

Straight Hair and Waxy Buildup

Straight Hair and Waxy Buildup
Your silky strands gradually gather gunk. Many people with straight hair deal with waxy roots or scalp buildup from inappropriate styling product use. Applying too much leave-in conditioner, serum, or hairspray can cause buildup, especially near the scalp or hairline.

Improper detangling and combing techniques also damage hair over time, causing it to attract dirt and appear waxier. Frequently brushing top layers without properly distributing natural oils to lower layers leaves hair limp and greasy.

For straight hair prone to oiliness, shampoo at least every other day, massaging the scalp thoroughly. Clarify monthly with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Adjust your washing frequency and brushing habits to prevent waxy roots and locks.

Scalp Conditions and Waxy Hair

Scalp Conditions and Waxy Hair
Conditions like seborrheic dermatitis can leave hair feeling gunked up. Let’s chat about ways to manage it.

  1. Clarify buildup with a gentle shampoo containing salicylic acid that targets the scalp without over-drying hair strands.
  2. Schedule regular scalp treatments, like the Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Remedy, with a stylist to dissolve oils and soothe an itchy scalp.
  3. Massage tea tree, jojoba, or argan oil into the scalp to rebalance sebum production and reduce flaking without weighing down roots.

Dermatitis and dandruff trigger excess skin cell turnover, which combines with sebum and dead cells to form waxy residue on the scalp and oily roots. Frequently shampooing irritates the scalp further, while inadequate washing allows buildup.

Finding shampoos that reduce buildup without over-drying and incorporating scalp treatments rebalance the scalp to reduce oiliness and itching. With a gentle approach, you can have a fresh, flake-free scalp and soft, shiny strands.

Effects of Different Water Types on Hair

Effects of Different Water Types on Hair
The mineral content in hard water can leave strands feeling gunked up over time. Hard water contains high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and metals that bind to hair, leaving an invisible residue that weighs strands down.

The waxy, product-like feeling comes from mineral deposits that attract and seal in oils and product ingredients.

Using a shower filter removes up to 90% of these minerals to prevent buildup. Well water and rainwater also have mineral impurities that lead to dull, lifeless locks over time. Distilled water lacks beneficial minerals for hair but will not cause waxy buildup.

Ideal for hair is spring water, which has a good mineral profile without an excess of metals that cause residue.

To avoid waxy, gunky hair, incorporate a shower filter if you have hard water at home. Also, use sulfate-free shampoos that do not contain silicones and thoroughly rinse hair to remove all product residue after washing.

With the right water filtration and hair care routine, you can have buildup-free, vibrant strands.

Environmental Factors and Waxy Hair

Environmental Factors and Waxy Hair
Factors we can’t control build up gunk that steals your hair’s shine. The environment exposes strands to climate and pollution that disrupt your mane’s balance.

  • Humidity causes frizz as moisture is drawn into the hair shaft, expanding strands.
  • Minerals from hard water leave behind deposits on the cuticle. Strands feel coated, lifeless, and lack movement.
  • Pollution particles cling to hair, causing damage and dryness. Strands feel brittle and lack shine.
  • Excess sebum production leads to oily residue at the roots. This causes flat, limp hair at the crown.
  • Sweat and chlorine from swimming dissipate hair’s natural oils. This leads to dry, straw-like locks.

Too much environmental exposure upsets the delicate balance of oils along the hair shaft. Hair feels weighed down by deposits yet craves moisture. Clarify regularly and deep condition to restore hair’s balance.

Diet, Medications, and Stress

Diet, Medications, and Stress
Your diet, medications, and stress levels can all contribute to an imbalance in your hair’s natural oils that leads to a waxy buildup. A poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals can impair hair growth and leave strands feeling weighed down.

Deficiencies in iron, zinc, omega-3s, vitamin D, and B vitamins may cause a greasy or waxy appearance.

Medications like birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood pressure meds also affect hormones that regulate oil production. This disrupts the hair follicle and can cause excess sebum and scalp buildup. High stress is another culprit, as it triggers oil glands to overproduce sebum, leading to oily, limp strands.

Daily factors like heat styling tools, hair products with heavy ingredients, and air pollution further coat the hair shaft in residue. Hot showers strip away the scalp’s natural oils, prompting it to rapidly generate more sebum.

All this sticky residue, along with hard water deposits, product buildup, and pollutants, leave hair looking dirty, flat, and feeling waxy.

Be mindful of nutrients, skincare routines, and styling habits to restore balance and bring back that healthy shine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know if I have waxy hair buildup versus other hair issues like dandruff or dry scalp?

Touch your hair. Does it feel dry and flaky like dandruff, or greasy and waxy from product buildup? Dandruff flakes off easily, while waxy residue sticks to your strands. Examine your scalp – if it’s red or irritated, that points to dandruff, but a coated scalp means you’ve got product buildup.

Waxy buildup can be influenced by genetics, hormones, and medical conditions. However, the main causes are product buildup and hard water. Focus on using gentle, clarifying shampoos and reducing products to alleviate waxy hair.

What ingredients in conditioners and shampoos contribute to waxy buildup versus nourish hair?

The nourishing ones use natural oils; the waxy ones rely on silicones and waxes. Opt for gentle, plant-based cleansers and conditioners to nourish while clarifying occasionally to remove buildup.

How often should I wash my hair if it is prone to waxiness – daily, every other day, weekly?

Wash your hair every other day if it’s prone to waxiness. This prevents buildup from frequent product use while allowing your natural oils to moisturize. Use a clarifying shampoo weekly to remove residue. Monitor your hair’s condition to adjust your routine as needed.

Are some hair types and textures more prone to waxiness than others?

Some hair types are more prone to waxiness, especially curly and coily textures. Product buildup shows quicker, so be diligent in removing all residue each wash. Seek hydrating products that are free of heavy ingredients. Clarify regularly and massage the scalp to lift oils and waxes.


Waxy hair can leave you feeling frustrated. But don’t despair – with some diligence, you can get to the bottom of what’s causing the buildup and restore your hair’s natural shine.

First, take stock of your haircare routine. Are you properly following product instructions and washing frequently enough? If not, make adjustments. Try switching to sulfate-free shampoos or incorporating an occasional clarifying wash.

Examine other factors too, like hard water and hair accessories. Getting to the root of why your hair feels waxy is key to finding the right solution. Stay observant of any changes to your hair and scalp. With some trial and error, you’ll be able to pinpoint the cause of waxiness.

Adjustments to your routine and targeted treatments will get your hair feeling clean, light, and healthy again. Don’t settle for lackluster locks – a little detective work will solve the mystery of waxy hair.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.