Why does my hair feel sticky after washing? How do I fix this sticky, waxy feeling? Is it because of hard water or some other. Find it all out here!
If your hair remains tangled, waxy and even sticky after washing, the reasons are usually the excess use of conditioners, product buildup on hair and scalp, accumulation of minerals due to hard water, and others.
In this article, I’ve elaborated on why hair feels sticky after shampooing and what are the steps you can take to fix this issue.
Your Hair Type Requires a Different Shampoo and Conditioner
Every hair type requires different treatment and this means not every shampoo or conditioner will suit you.
A rich, nourishing conditioner with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. is best suited for curly hair or even 4c hair that requires more hydration due to its texture. However, this type of product can actually weigh down fine, straight hair.
Similarly, a very creamy, mild shampoo will be perfect for those with dry scalp problems. But the same will not cleanse oily scalps properly, leaving them greasy.
So if your hair feels really sticky after washing you should check whether the cleansers and conditioners you use suit your hair type or not.
You Are Washing Hair Too Much
Now this might sound wacky, but yes washing your hair too much can make it oily and sticky. Weird? Not really.
When you overwash your hair, you cause excessive dryness on the scalp. To combat this dryness, your sebum glands (oil-producing glands) go into overdrive to maintain moisture on your scalp.
The result? Oily, sticky hair! So if you find yourself wondering why your hair seems more oily after washing it everyday, I suggest you cut down on the number of wash cycles.
You Are Not Rinsing Hair Properly After Shampooing
A lot of people make this mistake and don’t even know they are doing it. After you shampoo and condition your hair it is imperative that you rinse out all the products.
Leaving conditioner on your hair will not make it softer or shinier. In fact, it will only contribute to product buildup, causing more issues.
In fact, the hair expert and Youtuber Minimal Hair advises that after applying conditioner, you can use lukewarm water rinse the conditioner off to remove any buildup and then finish off with cold water to seal hair cuticle. This should be done very last if you’re concerned about retaining softness and shine.
You’re Using Too Much Conditioner
Too much of a good thing can actually be bad for your hair. So easy on the conditioner!
The amount of conditioner you use should actually depend on your hair type and texture. Low porosity hair and straight, fine hair won’t require rich or heavy conditioner or a lot of product.
However, curly, high porosity hair needs more hydration and hence more conditioner.
So if you’re using almost half of the conditioner bottle thinking it will help make hair smoother or softer, you’re actually doing your tresses a disservice.
Use only a pea sized amount of conditioner if you have fine, thin hair and rinse it out thoroughly.
Doing so should reduce the feeling of stickiness on your hair after washing.
You Have Product Buildup On Hair
A lot of women, me included have the habit of using several hair products almost every day. You use conditioners, hair sprays, leave-in conditioners, serums, oils, and the list goes on.
But sometimes just shampooing won’t get rid of all of this buildup easily. In fact, some of these conditioners and serums contain silicones.
Now silicones are not exactly harmful or toxic to hair. In fact, this study claims that:
“The use of conditioners with oils and silicones are important to minimize the rubbing and friction of the cuticle cells for chemical treated hair and after the use of anti-dundruff shampoos”– Gavazzoni Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis. “Hair cosmetics: an overview.” International journal of trichology vol. 7,1 (2015): 2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
Also, ingredients like dimethicone, amodimethicone, dimethiconol, etc. coat the hair strands making them appear glossy and reducing frizz.
However, these do not get washed off easily and hence the sticky, waxy feeling after you wash your hair!
The only solution to this problem is to completely avoid hair products with forms of silicones in them. But as this is easier said than done, you can use a strong, clarifying shampoo once a week or an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove this buildup.
You Are Washing Hair With Hard Water
When I shifted towns, I could find my hair felt stickier after washing sometimes and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong!
Then after a bit of research I found out that it was the water that was the issue.
Yes, hard water has a reputation for leaving hair dry so you might be wondering how it can leave hair sticky.
Well, the problem is the presence of minerals in the water. These minerals that mainly include calcium and magnesium can coat your hair and create a form of buildup that makes hair sticky.
So the hardness of water is one of the biggest reasons why your hair feels sticky after washing.
You Use Not Using A Clean Hair Towel Or Brush
Sometimes it’s not your hair that is the problem. It can even be your hair towels, scarves or hair brushes. Just be honest, when was the last time you washed your hair brush or comb? And is your hair towel really clean?
If they are not clean (or at least not as clean as you think) the reason for the greasiness on your hair after washing might be due to using these towels and brushes.
All these items pick up your scalp and hair’s natural oil so they don’t need to be stained or dusty to cause dirt buildup on your hair.
So if you want to reduce your hair feeling sticky after washing, clean your hair towels and brushes people!
You Have Naturally Oily Hair
Well, if nothing on this list seems to pinpoint the reason why your hair feels oily, I think you just have an oily hair type.
Some people’s scalps contain more sebum glands than others. And your hair type is also a huge factor in how oily your hair gets.
If you have straight, thin hair the scalp’s natural oils get distributed on the hair strands easily, making it oily. This is difficult in curly hair and almost impossible in 4c coily hair, so these hair types tend to be on the drier side.
Using a shampoo specifically created for oily hair can help in this case.
Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?
The author of this article, Amy Angelos has a degree in Cosmetology from The Salon Professional Academy in San Jose, California with 10 years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As she is adept at styling hair of various textures from straight, wavy to curly and African American, Amy knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. Our Editor Leah Marie Priest has also tested these hair products and processes and fact checked this article to give you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.
Now that we know the the reasons why hair feels sticky after washing, you can easily find remedies to rectify this issue.
Some of these causes of waxy, gummy hair are easily remedied by using a clarifying shampoo or simply washing your hair less.
But sometimes if these solutions do not work, then there might be a more serious reason for hair to feel gummy.
A lack of proteins in hair due to excessive bleaching, coloring, and chemical treatments.
In this case, a deep protein treatment will do your hair good.