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Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? Common Causes and Solutions
Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy? Common Causes and Solutions

Listen to an audio transcription of this post

Key takeaways:

  • Causes of waxy hair include product buildup, hard water, and hormonal issues.

  • Solutions are clarifying shampoos, water softeners, and scalp care.

  • Silk pillowcases can help improve texture. 

  • Lifestyle changes like diet adjustments and seeing professionals can help.


Looking for a solution to make your hair soft and shiny again? First, it helps to know why you might be getting a buildup on it. Is it your water? Or maybe it's how you wash it? We'll explore what can make hair feel waxy and what you can do to boost hair health!

Common Causes of Waxy Hair

Greasy hair or waxy-feeling hair is a fairly common problem. Even freshly washed hair can feel this way, depending on how you wash it, what products you use, and other factors. Let's go over some of the potential causes of why your hair feels waxy!

Product build-up

What do you use to clean and style your hair? Washing with the wrong kinds of hair products—or just using lots of products in general—could be the culprit.

You might be using too much conditioner and shampoo. Or your cleaning and styling products might contain ingredients that cause a waxy buildup, like any of the following:

  • Silicones

  • Resins

  • Dimethicones

  • Sulfates

Do you tend to use multiple products on your hair? The combination of these might be causing a waxy feeling as they accumulate.

Signs of product buildup in your hair may include:

  • Dullness

  • Greasy texture

  • Flat, lacks volume

  • Breaks easily

  • Doesn't hold any natural texture

Improper washing techniques

How do you wash your hair? Are you following the instructions on your shampoo and conditioner? Remember that conditioner is more for the ends of your hair, not your scalp. Using it all over could result in a waxy buildup.

Are you rinsing well? Shampoo suds or conditioner that accumulate near your hair follicles can leave hair with a wax-like feeling.

How often are you washing your hair? Not washing often enough could lead to a waxy texture. Your hair has natural oils that help keep it healthy, but it still needs regular washing.

waxy feeling hair with excess oil

Hard water

Does your home have hard water? Mineral deposits in your shower water can end up affecting your hair. No matter how much you wash—or how thoroughly you rinse—you might notice waxy buildup thanks to your water.

Overactive sebaceous glands

Did you know your body produces sebum to help prevent dry hair and skin? It nourishes each hair shaft, acts as a natural conditioner—and much more! This oil-like substance can leave you with waxy hair if you have too much of it, though.

This natural oil production might kick into high gear for any of the following reasons:

  • Using haircare treatments too often, like hair coloring

  • Having underlying issues, such as thyroid or digestive issues

For example, haircare treatments might dry out your scalp, causing excessive oil production.

Diet and health

What you eat can affect your hair. And your overall well-being can also play a role in hair health. Does your diet include a lot of saturated fats? That can trigger metabolic disorders and an increase in sebum production.

Foods with a high glycemic index—or foods that raise blood sugar fast—can also cause this. Some of these foods include white bread, potato chips, breakfast cereals, baked goods, and French fries.

Certain medical conditions might also have your hair feeling waxy, such as:

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Intestinal problems

  • Liver problems

If it's your diet or health causing waxy hair, you can always talk to your doctor about making nutritional changes or managing health issues.

Effective Solutions to Combat Waxy Hair

Now you know what may be making your hair feel waxy. What can you do about it? You can try any of the following solutions—or use a combination to help your hair feel fresh and clean!

waxy feeling hair solutions

Clarifying shampoos

Time for a shampoo upgrade? Your normal products might not be doing enough to clean your hair. Switching to a clarifying shampoo may help!

These kinds of shampoos have ingredients that get rid of buildup from hair products, leaving you with shiny, healthy hair. These ingredients eliminate residue and other debris that can accumulate in your hair.

Just note that clarifying shampoo isn't for everyday use. Only use it when you notice waxy buildup. Otherwise, it can remove your hair's natural oils, leaving it dry and dull.

Proper hair-washing techniques

What's the right way to wash your hair? Use these tips for getting your hair clean and keeping it healthy:

  • Soak in warm water

  • Apply shampoo to the roots

  • Give your scalp a massage

  • Rinse shampoo thoroughly

  • Put conditioner on lengths of your half only

  • Rinse conditioner thoroughly with cooler water

Remember to avoid using any harsh shampoos. Choose gentle ones without ingredients that can strip away natural oils. If you have very curly or textured hair, you may try applying conditioner at the scalp as well.

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Water softening solutions

Is hard water the main problem affecting your hair? A water softener can help eliminate those pesky mineral deposits causing waxy buildup. Some softeners pull minerals from the water through ion exchange. Others prevent minerals from binding together.

You'll find many water softeners on the market, including salt-based and salt-free options. Knowing certain factors helps you pick the right one for your home, such as:

  • How much water your household uses

  • How hard your water is

  • What type of water softener you prefer to use

Installing a water softener can help keep your water softer and free of the minerals that make your hair feel waxy. Note that you don't have to go with a whole-house water softener. You can just install a shower head that makes your water softer for a convenient and cost-effective solution.

Scalp care

Taking good care of your scalp might help you avoid having to deal with waxy or greasy hair with a dull or rough appearance. A healthy scalp can help protect hair follicles from damage and prevent excessive oil production.

How can you pamper this part of your body for healthy hair? Try the following:

  • Always choose cleaning and styling products that are gentle and non-abrasive

  • Avoid products with sulfates and other ingredients that strip your natural oils

  • Don't scrub too hard while shampooing

  • Talk to your doctor about taking omega-3 supplements and/or probiotics

  • Use a scalp scrub to exfoliate

Using a Blissy Silk Pillowcase

Did you know that your pillowcase can be a powerful ally in helping you maintain healthy hair? But not just any pillowcase! Blissy Silk Pillowcases have high-quality mulberry silk that's been shown to benefit hair.

Think about how much time your hair spends on your pillow each night. The material it's on can make a big difference in how healthy, shiny, and soft it feels and looks. Silk pillowcases pamper and nourish your hair.

how to keep hair healthy with a silk pillowcase

Benefits for hair health

Silk is a natural fabric that has proteins called fibroin and sericin. Studies have shown that silk proteins help keep hair healthy and strong.

As the highest quality silk, mulberry silk pillowcases provide hair with these great benefits:

  • Less frizz: Silk doesn't cause as much friction as other fabrics, like cotton, resulting in less frizz when you wake up

  • More hydration: Silk doesn't absorb your hair's natural oils, leaving it more hydrated and less prone to breakage and dryness

Customer testimonials

How happy have our customers been with Blissy Silk Pillowcases when it comes to hair health? Pam C. loves that she's "already noticed a difference in my hair and skin" after switching to Blissy.

Marcia W. says her hair "looks as good as it did before I went to sleep," and loves having "no more crazy hair, sticking out all over the place."

Mariah W. says her "hair and skin have never felt better." And Terry L. states that her "hair is no longer dried out and messy in the morning," since she started sleeping on Blissy's silk pillowcases.

Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

What else can you do so that your hair feels soft and looks its best? Making a few changes to your daily life may help. The following tips can help boost your hair health overall and lower your risk of dealing with waxy buildup again.

Diet adjustments

Is your diet filled with foods that might contribute to excess sebum, like unhealthy fats or high glycemic foods? Cut down on those, and focus on eating a healthy diet instead.

Foods with antioxidants, like berries and nuts, are a great way to help reduce damage to cells—that includes your hair follicles and scalp cells. Include more of these as snacks and in your meals.

What about switching from high to low-glycemic foods? That's a smart move for many reasons! These foods are better for your health overall, not just your hair and scalp. Some of these foods include:

  • Many fruits and vegetables

  • Dairy foods with low-fat

  • Beans

  • Nuts

  • Whole wheat grains

Stress management

Being stressed can take a toll on your hair. If your hair feels waxy or has other issues, finding ways to keep stress under control can be helpful.

You might not be able to avoid it altogether. Everyone experiences some stress in everyday life. But there's a lot you can do to manage it, like any or all of the following:

  • Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal

  • Take up yoga

  • Work on being mindful

  • Practice meditating

  • Go for walks outside

  • Soak in the tub

why does my hair feel way? hair and scalp solutions

When to Seek Professional Help

Are home remedies not working enough? Are changes to your haircare routine not making a difference? In these cases, getting professional care might help.

If you have an underlying condition affecting your hair, see your doctor for help managing it. Otherwise, you may want to consider seeking help from someone who specializes in skin and/or hair problems.

Consulting a trichologist or dermatologist

Dermatologists can help treat any skin problems that are linked to waxy hair. They can give you a diagnosis if needed and offer treatment to clear up your symptoms. These skin professionals can also give advice on helping your skin stay healthy.

What about seeing a trichologist? These professionals focus on managing and treating conditions that affect the scalp and hair. You might benefit from seeing one if you've got an oily scalp or similar problems.

Make Blissy Part of Your Haircare Routine

Ready to add Blissy products to your home for better hair? Check out our collection of silk pillowcases and other products, like our silk hair accessories and silk bonnets!

View Sources

  • Christiansen, S. (2024, April 18). Sebum buildup on the scalp: Causes and treatment. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/sebum-buildup-on-scalp-5184298
  • Professional, C. C. M. (n.d.). Sebaceous glands. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24538-sebaceous-glands
  • Team, K. (2023, August 1). Sebum BuildUp on Scalp: Function, Imbalance, maintenance. Kolors Healthcare India. https://www.kolorshealthcare.com/blog/sebum-buildup-on-scalp-function-imbalance-maintenance/
  • Silva, A. S., Costa, E. C., Reis, S., Spencer, C., Calhelha, R. C., Miguel, S. P., Ribeiro, M. P., Barros, L., Vaz, J. A., & Coutinho, P. (2022). Silk sericin: a promising sustainable biomaterial for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Polymers, 14(22), 4931. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14224931
  • Ulubay, G. (2023, April 12). Why does my hair feel waxy? a celebrity hairstylist explains. Marie Claire Magazine. https://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/why-your-hair-feels-waxy/
  • Purchasing and maintaining a water softener. (n.d.). Energy.gov. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/purchasing-and-maintaining-water-softener
  • 7 Healthy scalp tips for Strong, shiny hair. (2020, December 16). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/healthy-scalp
  • Harvard Health. (2023, April 14). A good guide to good carbs: The glycemic index. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/a-good-guide-to-good-carbs-the-glycemic-index
  • Trüeb, R. M., Vañó-Galván, S., Kopera, D., Jolliffe, V. M., Ioannides, D., Dias, M. F. R. G., Macpherson, M., Ávila, J. R., Gadzhigoroeva, A., Ovcharenko, J., Lee, W., Murugusundram, S., Kurata, S., Chang, M., & Tanglertsampan, C. (2018). Trichologist, dermatotrichologist, or trichiatrist? a global perspective on a strictly medical discipline. Skin Appendage Disorders4(4), 202–207. https://doi.org/10.1159/000488544
  • The Institute of Trichologists. (2024, April 10). What is Trichology - The Institute of Trichologists. The Institute of Trichologists -. https://trichologists.org.uk/what-is-trichology/

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