Here's Why Your Hair Feels Waxy And How To Treat It

Healthy, shiny hair is on everyone's hair goals mood board. Who doesn't dream of having a thick, flowing mane so luscious it would put any lion to shame? Yet in order to grow healthy hair, your scalp and strands have to be clean, hydrated, and nourished. Your hair's health is a direct reflection of your own health, so if you run your hands through it and feel like your hair is sticky or stiff like wax, you might need an intervention.

Waxy strands are definitely a cause for concern as it can be a sign of hair damage. But that doesn't mean you should launch hysterics and chop off your locks. There are things you can do to treat waxy hair, but first, you need to find out what the root cause is — no pun intended. Once you fish out the culprit, you can find products to target them and fix your hair up.

So before you hit save on yet another hair model's Instagram post during a daydream session about having clean, healthy tresses, you might want to dig deeper to find out why yours feels so waxy.

Product buildup and sulfates can cause waxiness

If you've noticed that your hair feels waxy to the touch, then it's a sign that something is wrong somewhere. Celebrity hairstylist Glenn Ellis talked to Marie Claire about this, and according to him, waxy hair can be caused by different reasons. One of them results from product buildup on the scalp: When you use products on your hair, especially sticky or oily ones like leave-in conditioner, hairspray, or gel, they can attract dust and lint, and also entrap your natural sebum, sweat, and dandruff. This buildup is what causes your hair to feel like there is a lot of oily residue on it.

If your hair is waxy due to product buildup, then your next agenda should be to wash it with a clarifying shampoo to strip it of its dirtiness. If you have loosely textured hair, then your natural oils will tend to accumulate quickly, which calls for more frequent washing.

Another cause of waxy hair is coated strands. Ellis explains that substances like sulfate coat the hair strands, contributing to the waxy sensation you feel on your hair. Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can be found in shampoos and conditioners, and should be on your "no-no" list because of how damaging they can be to your locks. "I always recommend using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to avoid the waxy feeling from the start," Ellis advises. 

Choose your hair products carefully

You should be mindful of other products containing substances that might cause buildup. Silicone is a popular ingredient in products like heat protectants and serums, and it can accumulate on the hair shaft, coating it and preventing hydration, according to The Hair Fuel. You should know what to consider before using silicone products in your hair. Doing your research and reading product labels go a long way in preventing your hair from being weighed down by buildup.

Remember that healthy hair can only thrive in a welcoming environment. If your scalp is caked with buildup, it will definitely affect the way your hair grows. In order to give your scalp a thorough cleanse, you should consider triple-washing your hair to make sure all of the gunk is gone. 

When it comes to getting rid of waxy buildup on your hair, sanitizing it goes a long way. You can take further steps by trying different techniques to ensure your hair and scalp stay clean and free of products and oil that weigh it down. You can incorporate shampooing twice into your hair care routine. After all, the phrase "rinse and repeat" on the back of your shampoo bottle isn't there for show. If you feel like your hair is still waxy after a wash, go at it again.