Why does my hair feel waxy

Although bad hair days aren’t an uncommon experience, we have this urge to keep the sad state of our hair mum under a bun. Unlike with frizz, chic hairstyles won’t save us from dealing with waxy hair. The shine just extends from roots to ends. 

Shine is not the enemy. Healthy, shiny hair that falls perfectly with little effort is an envy of many. It makes your hair look and feel alive; By extension, you also glow with health.  But when the shine also feels heavy and greasy, you can say goodbye to letting your hair down.

Where does all that grease come from?

Our skin is a protective layer that needs to be fortified. And like the skin of the rest of our body, the skin on our head also has sebaceous glands. These glands in our scalp dutifully produce natural oil or sebum.

Sebum keeps our skin and hair moisturized. They’re a good kind of oil which helps make our hair healthy. They also protect our scalp by making the skin surface unfriendly to harmful pathogens.

The sebaceous glands don’t spew a constant fountain of sebum. Our bodies have natural indicators that signal for their production. Oil production is also a response to changes in our health. Basically, it’s affected by what’s going on inside our bodies and by our environment. 


Why does my hair feel waxy and sticky?

On a normal day, the oil on our scalp is eventually combed throughout our tresses. But the constituents of our bodies are not paid actors going by the script.

There are different reasons why you’re experiencing an unusually oily scalp. Whether it be because of improper washing or product build-up, the identity of the culprit depends on when and where you start to feel the waxy residue.

Why does my hair feel waxy and sticky

Why does my hair feel waxy on my scalp?

Too much of a good thing is bad, especially if all the excess doesn't have anywhere else to go. The shape of your hair contributes to excess oil on your scalp. After all, it’s easier for the oil to travel to your hair ends when the path is straight.

Curly hair is as natural and beautiful as straight and wavy locks. But your curls may need a little help with getting the oil all throughout the length. While your scalp produces enough oil, all of it is lodged in one place. This tends to make curly hair feel dry and frizzy near the ends.

Combing through and massaging your hair helps with the distribution of sebum. But waxy roots is not limited to people with curly hair. This is when the environment takes the wheel. And this time, your hair type would matter less.

Your body knows when you have been under a lot of stress lately. It’s good to treat your body well because it helps you function during difficult times. As an unintended by-product, you also experience an increase in oil production.

Stress causes a rise in your stress hormone to help your body. High levels of this hormone encourage special cells to release more sebum. The result is prominent on our faces due to the resulting acne. But your scalp reacts the same way as your face. In short, high stress makes for noticeably greasy hair.

Excessive sebum production is more prominent for people with straight or wavy hair. Those with these hair types may find themselves asking “If sebum is released on my scalp, then why does my hair feel waxy at the ends?” Since not much prevents the oil from going down, your hair strands would reflect the state of your scalp.

Another reason for oily scalp is that your sebaceous glands are overcompensating. This happens when your hair washing routine is drying your hair. The products and how you use them can have such a negative effect.

For example, you shampoo every day so that your hair would feel squeaky clean. Because the product is very dehydrating, your scalp produces more oil. Failing to recognize the problem, you offset the greasiness by shampooing more which only aggravates the problem. This cycle can take a while to break free from. 

Why does my hair feel waxy after washing it?

Ironically, not washing your hair will cause the same issue that you’re trying to avoid. Your scalp would still replenish the oil that was supposed to have been removed already. 

Washing, as mentioned before, is a slippery slope to having oily hair. If you overdo it, shampooing can backfire. It places you in a situation that is the opposite of what you pictured.

Underdoing it is also not ideal; so is not washing your hair properly. When the conditioner is not rinsed properly, you are left with a slick that feels slimy to your fingers. Even though it has been hours since you’ve stepped out of the shower, your hair would still feel greasy and heavy. 

Bad rinsing technique after using rich, heavy conditioners is also the answer to “Why does my hair feel waxy when wet?” You have to properly rinse away the product.

With all the propaganda painting shampoo as a vile thing you shouldn’t touch with a 10-feet pole, the Internet may have convinced you to skip shampoo entirely. However, this doesn’t help your hair in the long run.

If you feel that your hair is waxy, it might be because your shampoo days are too far apart. Once a week might work for some people, but it might be too infrequent for you. Your week may be too stressful. You might be using several hair products that can leave residue on your scalp.

Working out and the summer weather would also mean that your hair needs a thorough cleansing. Not only are you dealing with the accumulated sebum, but you’re also removing the sweat and dirt.

If you skip washing your hair longer than you should, the accumulated gunk on your hair can lead to itch and an unpleasant odor. You are also risking getting an infection from all the dirt on your scalp. 

Committing to a method without taking your circumstances into the equation can lead to more serious problems than just oily hair.

CHECK OUT: 7 Ways How to Make Your Hair Less Greasy Without Washing It

Why does my hair feel waxy after bleaching?

Why does my hair feel waxy after bleaching

Bleach decolorizes your hair. After the bleaching process, your strands would feel dry and brittle. Since this process often goes hand-in-hand with coloring your hair, you might as well ask “Why does my hair feel waxy after dyeing?”

Some people prefer going to a professional to get their hair done. If something would go wrong with the procedure, your hair would suffer as a result. It would feel gummy, stringy, or waxy. 

If it’s been a while since your hair was bleached and dyed, the waxy feeling could be from the new hair that’s starting to grow. While you are still careful not to break your bleached hair, the same treatment may be too mild for the new strands.

So, how do you get rid of waxy hair?

CHECK OUT: How to hydrate hair after bleaching


How to fix waxy hair

Avoiding this problem starts with understanding your hair and what it needs. Each hair type tends to require a different approach. 

With curly hair, the scalp tends to be more greasy than the end of the hair strands. But oil moves away from the scalp if your hair is more wavy than curly. Straight hair gets the brunt of the waxy hair dilemma because of how conspicuous excess sebum gets.

Brushing your hair

Especially for curly hair, this simple step goes a long way in distributing sebum. And combing your hair also massages your scalp and detangles your strands.

Just remember to regularly clean your hair tools because the dirt can worsen the build-up. And don’t brush your hair when it’s still wet as you could break it.

CHECK OUT: Comb vs Brush: Which is better for your hair?

Better stress management

Stress is unavoidable; it comes in parcel with being alive. While you can’t avoid stressful situations, you can improve how you react to them. 

You can find plentiful resources that teach stress management. They offer lectures, exercises, activities, and routines to help you cope.

CHECK OUT: HELP! My hair gets greasy really fast

Washing your hair as needed

You shouldn’t wash every day, but you also shouldn’t skip it entirely. There is no strict formula for the correct interval between wash and no-wash days. As mentioned, you should consider your circumstances. You should only wash your hair as needed.

Look for light shampoos that remove dirt and oil without dehydrating your strands in the process. Do a little study on what ingredients your hair needs at the moment.

When washing, focus on the roots as the build-up is heavy there. After you shampoo, the suds have done their part in removing grime and dirt from your hair. So you have to rinse it all away. 

If your hair still feels waxy even after you have taken the proper precautions, it may be time to switch to a new product. Clearly, your current choice isn’t working out for you.

girl washing hair in the shower

Having a balanced lifestyle

Your hair reflects your health. If you’re living a sedentary and junk-food-filled lifestyle, a gradual change in your routine improves your hair health. It won’t magically transform your hair. But the effect shows in your new hair growth.

Maintaining smart lifestyle choices help counter the negative effect of stress on your body and hair. They also help improve your mood. Ultimately, a healthier self is more capable in dealing with life’s challenges.

Shine is an indicator of good hair health. But it can also signal an underlying problem. The horrors of dealing with waxy hair are something some of us know too well. While it can happen on some days, it’s good to know that you’re not helpless.

CHECK OUT: How to Get Rid of Brassy Hair At Home

Last Updated: February 11, 2022

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