Home Hair Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? – And How To Fix It

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? – And How To Fix It

by Gabbi

Hair is sensitive to various external and environmental factors, including products, hard water, skin conditions, and more. These factors can impact our strands, and sometimes, we can experience adverse side effects that are frustrating to solve. 

One of those adverse side effects can include your hair feeling waxy, even after freshly washing it. In addition, this unique and uncomfortable film that encompasses the strands can leave you feeling confused about why it happened in the first place. 

Why does my hair feel waxy? Hair can feel waxy due to many causes, including product build-up, using the wrong combination of products, or even serious skin conditions. Fortunately, there are remedies that can correct the issues that cause hair to feel waxy.

Many of us can agree one of the worst feelings in the world is taking the time to thoroughly wash your hair, only to find out there is a weird, tacky residue that seems impossible to eliminate. So what do you do at that point? Rewash it or deal with the mess?

Thankfully, waxy hair is treatable, and there are solutions to solve this frustrating issue. So, it’s time to dive in and figure out what’s missing in your hair care routine or what supplemental products/methods you should incorporate on your hair wash day.

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing?

Washing your hair can be refreshing for some individuals and a chore for others. The amount of effort that goes into cleaning your hair can vary from person to person. However, dealing with waxy hair afterward can be a struggle for anyone and leave you feeling defeated.

The first step to solving any issue is detecting the cause. You may realize that your waxy hair problem is any easy fix, or it can bring attention to an underlying issue. Some of the most common causes are skin conditions, environmental factors, and products.

1. Seborrheic Dermatitis 

Seborrheic Dermatitis is classified as eczema of the scalp, a skin condition that many people have experienced. Symptoms include oily scalps, skin flakes, red skin, itching, and more. It can be treated, but you may need help from a doctor.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects the scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff.” Oily areas are the most prone to this skin condition and can cause waxy/greasy hair.

The health of your hair starts with the health of your scalp. The scalp can pass on its traits to your strands. So if you are dealing with Seborrheic Dermatitis or an oily, flaky scalp, it can trickle down into the ends, resulting in a waxy or greasy texture.

Using the wrong shampoo and conditioner to treat your Seborrheic Dermatitis can make the situation even worse. It can cause product build-up and irritation, making it even more challenging to treat your oily, flaky scalp in the first place.

2. Product Build-Up 

If you style your hair daily or use a wide variety of hair products every day, it can weigh your hair down over time. Using copious amounts of hair products can coat the strands and hold your hairstyle, but they might not always wash out properly. 

Even shampoo and conditioner with sensitizing ingredients can lead to product build-up. The leftover residue from all your hair products can leave you feeling waxy and slowly damage your hair over time, leading to breakage and limp hair.

Shampoos and conditioners can also cause product build-up if they are not formulated with high-quality ingredients. Additional hair products like creams, gels, and sprays can also clog or affect hair follicles, impacting hair growth.

Hair products can also be filled with silicones. Conditioners contain silicones to achieve a soft and smooth finish, and so do most hair styling products. However, layering product after product can cause these silicones to build up and leave you feeling waxy. 

3. Hormone Imbalance/Health Issues

Changing your hair routine is easy, and so is reducing the use of your hair products. However, if you have adapted your routine and tried everything in the book and your hair is still waxy or greasy, it may be time to call your doctor for a check-up.

Many of us aren’t even aware that we could be dealing with a hormone imbalance. They are hard to detect, and their symptoms can often be confused with another issue. For example, our health and hormones affect the health of our hair and scalp. 

Stress, vitamin deficiencies, diet, and various other factors that trigger your health and hormones will, in turn, affect your hair. So, if your hair is limp, greasy, or dull, it may be time to figure out if there are any underlying causes to your waxy hair. 

Health is wealth, and a doctor’s check-up can help determine the actual cause behind waxy strands of hair.

4. A New Environment 

Have you moved recently into a new city, climate, or environment? What changes have you noticed in your hair since that move? Or have you always lived in an area that is heavily polluted? Surprisingly enough, the environment can drastically impact your hair.

According to Medical News Today, “ A 2015 study found that air pollution was causing an oily scalp in people living in cities, along with other scalp issues such as itching and dandruff.” So we all knew pollution was terrible, but did we know it affects our strands?

Environmental damage can impact your hair being waxy and greasy, especially if you live in a densely populated area. Hair can easily absorb the air around us, and it makes sense why pollution can affect the strands, scalp, and skin. 

According to a 2015 study, “air pollution can contribute to scalp irritation, redness, itching, excessive sebum secretion, dandruff, pain in the hair roots, and hair loss.” 

Therefore, adapting your hair routine and diet to combat your environment is crucial for your health. 

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Drying?

We now know the potential causes for greasy, waxy hair after washing it, but what triggers the same results after drying? Drying your hair can be tricky; whether you air-dry it or use a blowdryer, your hair can still feel like it has a filmy texture.

The last thing anyone wants is their freshly washed and dried hair to feel filmy or waxy. Thankfully, there are a few things you can switch up in your routine so your hair will feel soft and resilient again.

1. Hair Color Damage 

How often do you color or bleach your hair? If you perform these services at home or with an inexperienced hairstylist, your hair could have gone through severe trauma. You can color or bleach hair while keeping its integrity, but it can go so wrong so fast. 

Coloring or bleaching your hair incorrectly can eventually cause breakage, split ends, gummy strands, and brittle hair textures. You may compensate for this loss of strength with moisturizing products that coat the strands and disregard the problem.

It’s recommended to make sure you are coloring or bleaching your hair safely to avoid a waxy result after drying your hair. Keeping your hair’s integrity during coloring treatments will help you avoid any greasy, waxy, or limp strands from taking place. 

2. The Wrong Hair Products

Hair products can be the primary and easiest culprit to switch up if you have waxy ends. First, ensure that you are using the correct products for your hair type. Hair is personal, and hair styling products are not one-size-fits-all. 

Adjusting your routine to your hair type, texture, porosity, and elasticity can create a vast improvement in the feel of your hair. For example, maybe you are using a moisturizing conditioner that’s leaving you greasy. It’s time to reevaluate.

Another helpful tip is to check the ingredients list on your hair products. Ensure that there aren’t any sensitizing ingredients or ones that can build up on the hair over time. The wrong ingredients can leave the hair with a waxy and limp finish. 

3. Heat Styling 

Your hot tools can be doing more harm than good. If you are not using a heat protectant, you may expose your strands to severe damage. Also, avoid using hot tools on damp hair. This can increase the risk of breakage and split ends.

The improper use of hot tools can result in hair that is stiff, lifeless, and waxy. Your hair can feel crunchy and like there is a film coating over your strands. A heat protectant with beneficial ingredients that also protect against UV rays can save your hair. 

The continued use of heat styling with the wrong techniques can even result in the hair snapping off completely. A blowdryer can make your life easier. However, it’s not worth degrading the integrity of your hair. 

If you’re looking for a great product to use on days you use hot tools, this thermal styling spray is my absolute favorite. It protects hair while creating a gorgeous shine!

3. Product Overload Or Improper Rinsing 

Even if you have crafted the perfect hair care routine, double-check that you aren’t going overboard with your products. In most situations, a little goes a long way. Not only will it save your hair, but it will save your time and money in the long run. 

Using too much product will leave your hair with an unwanted heavy residue, which could be the reason why your hair is feeling waxy. Therefore, your products should be used sparingly or as instructed on the labels to achieve the best results. 

Are you rinsing your hair correctly? This may sound like a dumb question, but surprisingly enough, the cause of waxy hair is likely because your arent rinsing out all your shampoo and conditioner. If you think you are done rising, rinse a bit more. 

How Do You Fix Waxy Hair? 

Let’s review some impactful causes of greasy and waxy hair:

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • The wrong or too many hair products
  • A new Environment 
  • Health
  • Hair coloring, bleaching, and styling 

There is an endless list of causes that can be contributing to your waxy ends. Thankfully, waxy hair is treatable. From quick fixes to long-term solutions, check out these methods below to solve your filmy and waxy strands. 

1. Clarifying Shampoo

Introducing a treatment shampoo into your hair wash routine every month or every two weeks can create a drastic difference for your hair. Whether you’re dealing with scalp disorders like Seborrheic Dermatitis or product build-up, clarifying your hair is the way to go!

If you deal with product build-up due to hair styling or your hair has a weird film from pollution, washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo can combat and cleanse away build-up and harmful products from the scalp and hair. In addition, a clarifying shampoo can reduce waxy strands. 

A clarifying shampoo or even a medical shampoo can even treat scalp conditions. Getting rid of dandruff, balancing the oils on your scalp, and relieving itchy skin will all help reduce waxy or greasy ends. Use once a month or as instructed by a doctor. 

A clarifying shampoo is one of the most straightforward changes in your hair routine to fix waxy hair. You may even want to try a shampoo designed for Folliculitis or other conditions that can cause a dry and itchy scalp. pH- balanced shampoos are also a great option for maintaining happy hair and keeping oil to a minimum.

2. Seek Medical Advice 

If you believe your waxy ends have nothing to do with your hair routine, it may be time to seek medical advice. Although a hairstylist or licensed cosmetologist can only do so much, a good one will refer you to a medical professional. 

Dealing with Seborrheic Dermatitis isn’t a blast. While it can be treatable at home naturally, sometimes severe cases can get out of hand. A medical professional will assess your needs and provide an effective routine that you can follow. 

If you believe a hormonal imbalance or other health concern affects your hair, figuring out the underlying cause will be your first step. Then, work with a credible medical professional to understand your problem and solve it; your hair should follow.

A doctor will be able to track your needs and restore your body to its health. Usually, when these underlying causes are treated, the health of your hair will also improve over time. 

3. Adjust Your Diet And Hair Products 

Your health on the inside is just as important as your health on the outside. Your diet can be adjusted to promote healthy hair. Also, we stated earlier that the health of your strands stems from a healthy scalp. Beauty comes from within; feed it well!

Various foods can help promote the growth of your hair. It’s a simple way to improve your strands, and it can be solved by changing daily habits.

You may want to include more foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, as well as less fried and greasy foods. Fatty fish, chia seeds, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, and avocados are some of the best foods you can add to your diet for the sake of your hair.

In addition, ensure you are using the correct products for your hair type. A little product goes a long way. Read the ingredients list to avoid sensitizing components that can build up or cause irritation over time. Your hair will completely transform. 

4. Good Hair Practices 

It’s now time to begin your healthy hair journey. Also, remember to be patient. Your hair will transform over time once you solve your waxy hair fiasco. Treat your body and hair well, and you’ll see a positive result with your strands gradually.

If you style your hair frequently, invest in a high-quality heat protectant. Use hair products with beneficial and safe ingredients, and color your hair with a professional and licensed hairstylist. 

Also, make minor adjustments to your lifestyle, like incorporating hair-loving foods. When in doubt, seek medical help to solve invisible or underlying conditions. It’s finally time to kiss waxy, filmy, and limp hair goodbye! 

These changes don’t have to be overwhelming; start one step at a time. Through the process of elimination, you’ll be able to determine why your hair feels waxy. What methods will you be incorporating into your daily life? 

Up Next: Should I Wet My Hair Every Day?

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