Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing and Drying?

Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy After Washing and Drying


Waxy hair commonly occurs after washing or drying. You may notice your hair has an undesirable texture, making it feel sticky and stiff. If you don’t treat the waxiness over time, your strands may become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage. However, you aren’t alone in your struggle against waxy hair. It’s something that affects thousands of people worldwide.

A clarifying shampoo is the best treatment for waxy hair. Also called purifying or deep cleansing shampoos, these products can cut through buildup and leave hair feeling softer. Be careful, as they are much stronger than regular shampoos. Clarifying shampoo is only recommended for use once or twice per month. This guideline is especially true for anyone with wavy or curly hair.

If you’re experiencing the discomfort of waxy hair, you may need to switch up your hair products entirely. Try changing to lighter, water-based formulas that don’t contain silicone, petroleum, heavy oils, and wax. Also, when applying hair products, remember that less is usually more. If the problem persists, speak with your hair salon about additional solutions.

While you can remove the waxy buildup from your hair, the best way is to take preventative measures. There are several underlying causes. Here are seven reasons why your hair feels waxy after washing or drying:


1. Product buildup in hair

Your hair feels waxy after washing because there is product buildup.


One of the leading causes of waxy hair is product buildup. Hairstyling products can collect on your hair, leaving behind that unwanted waxiness. Some ingredients like silicone, polymer, and oils are water-resistant. That means they will cling to each strand of your hair. This buildup makes your hair feel brittle, waxy, and greasy even after washing.


2. Hair wash routine

If you have waxy hair after washing, you need to change your hair wash routine.


It is crucial to wash our hair correctly to remove the waxy buildup. In a fast-paced world, it is easy to fall into unhealthy habits. Improper hair washing is one of them. We may not fully rinse away conditioner or shampoo. Likewise, we may not wash thoroughly enough, leaving behind a film. That signals your scalp to produce more oils, contributing to waxy hair.

Ensuring you have a proper hair wash routine will ward off unwanted waxiness. When cleaning your hair, soak it thoroughly in water before applying shampoo. After moving on to the conditioner, focus on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. As you rinse, pay extra attention not to rush through the process, ensuring all product has washed away.


3. Hard water in shower

If you have waxy sticky hair after washing, it may be due to hard water in the shower.


Many homes in Canada have hard water. In Toronto, the water is considered moderately hard. Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals remain on our hair, leaving behind a residue that can feel sticky and waxy. You can reduce hard water by installing a water softener shower head.


4. Damaged hair

Damaged hair feels waxy after washing.


Chemical processing and heat can damage our hair cuticles, which may also cause dull or waxy hair. You might notice a waxy film if you have a history of bleaching, colouring, or using heat styling tools. This symptom indicates damaged hair through processing.

Likewise, you may damage your hair from using soiled products. Hairbrushes pick up sebum and oil from our scalps through everyday use. Failing to wash them regularly will transfer those oils onto the hair. For similar reasons, you should also be mindful when wearing dirty hats and scarves.


5. Health problems & medications

You may get waxy feeling hair due to health problems or medications.


Often, an underlying medical condition can cause waxy buildup on your hair. When this is the case, it is best to speak with a medical professional about solutions. Some common health issues that lead to waxy hair include hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, and bacterial or fungal infections.

Similarly, medications may be the culprit behind waxy hair. Prescriptions like steroids, blood thinners, and birth control can cause your body to produce excess oil. They coat your hair and leave a sticky, waxy feeling.


6. Environmental pollution

Environmental pollution may cause waxy buildup on hair.


Pollution isn’t good for any reason. When your scalp is exposed to high pollution levels, it will secrete extra oils to protect itself. In addition to these excess oils, some types of pollution can even bind to your hair. That may cause a nasty, waxy film to develop. If you live near a high-density location with lots of pollution, that could contribute to the waxiness in your hair.


7. Psychological stress

Psychological stress may explain why you have waxy feeling hair.


Psychological stress impacts nearly every part of the human body, both inside and out. When we experience stress, our bodies create hormonal cortisol. If cortisol produces in excess, the level of scalp oil increases. That can lead to a wax-like coating on your hair. You may relieve stress by dedicating a portion of the day where you don’t consume worrisome thoughts. Enjoy your daily shower and hair wash happily without stressing about factors beyond your control.