Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Washing? Solutions inside

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Washing

Are you wondering why your hair feels sticky even after thoroughly washing it? This could be a common issue experienced by many people, and it can be frustrating when your hair refuses to cooperate despite all of your efforts. There are various reasons behind this phenomenon, and understanding them can assist you in dealing with the situation more effectively.

It is crucial to note that several factors could be responsible for the sticky feeling, which might include improper washing, using greasy products, hormonal changes, seborrhea, buildup of silicones, hard water, soap or wax residue, sweat, or even environmental factors such as pollen or humidity. By acknowledging these causes, you can take appropriate measures to rectify the problem and restore the desired texture to your hair.

In order to manage this issue, it’s essential to identify the root cause that’s applicable to your specific situation. You may need to change your shampoo, incorporate a clarifying product, avoid heavy styling agents, or be more diligent in thoroughly rinsing your hair. Consulting with a professional may also provide valuable insights tailored to your hair type and environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Several factors can contribute to sticky hair after washing, including product buildup, hormonal changes, and environmental factors.
  • Altering your hair care routine, such as using a clarifying shampoo or thoroughly rinsing your hair, may help address the issue.
  • Consult a professional for personalized recommendations based on your hair type and environment.

Reasons Behind why your hair is sticky After Washing

Your hair products are too heavy for your hair

Sometimes, using hair products that are too heavy for your hair type can lead to a greasy and sticky feeling in your hair. If you just changed hair products, it might be wise to switch back to the products you had that didn’t give you sticky hair. If you’ve used the products for a while and you have sticky hair, you are better off with lighter products.

You are using too many silicones

Using to much silicones in your hair (due to use of products) can cause buildup, which leads to sticky hair. The best way to combat this is by switching to a clarifying shampoo or an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove the excess of silicones.

You are over-washing your hair

Normally we would wash our hair as part of our hair-care routine. But did you know that you can wash your hair too often? Over-washing your hair can strip your hair of natural oils, causing your scalp to produce more sebum. This excess oil may make your hair feel sticky. Try washing less frequently or using a more gentle shampoo (or even opt for dry shampoo).

You Are Not Rinsing Hair Properly After Shampooing

One of the common reasons you feel your hair is sticky after washing it is because you leave shampoo residue in your hair and not rinse properly. this can create a sticky texture in your hair. Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all soap and buildup.

You are using too much conditioner

As with washing your hair too often, using products excessively (conditioner for example) can make your hair feel sticky. Try to apply a smaller amount and focus on the ends of your hair, avoiding your scalp. Why avoid your scalp? Read the reason below.

You are applying conditioner to your scalp

Conditioner should be applied to the ends, not the scalp If you apply the conditioner to your scalp (or go anywhere near the scalp), you have the possibility of damaging your hair because the conditioner will coat the scalp which in turn can lead to irritation. This then can lead to a greasy and sticky residue. Keep the conditioner away from your roots to avoid this issue.

You Have Product Buildup On Hair

Over time, hair products can build up on your hair, causing stickiness. Try clarifying shampoos or regular deep-cleansing treatments to remove buildup.

You are over-oiling your hair

over-oiling your hair is never a good idea. No matter what condition your hair is in, it is not advisable to use oil more than 2 times per week on your hair.

If you do need to oil your hair, there are a couple of things you need to take into account to not get sticky hair.

The most important thing is that you don’t let the oil sit in your hair for more than 2 hours. If you let it sit longer, your hair is going to attract dirt and sweat which in turn can lead to oil forming in your hair and leaving a sticky residue. This is not at all what you want. You want the opposite of that.
Read this article to find out more about oiling your hair: Can you pre-poo with coconut oil?

The water that you use is harder than is good for your hair

Hard water is high in minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. these minerals do not help with the shampoos ability to stick to the dirt particles in your hair effectively. You can imagine that the shampoo and dirt won’t leave your hair when the particles aren’t stuck to the dirt particles.

This build-up of dirt and sweat and all kinds of things in your hair, can cause your hair to become sticky (even after washing it).

If you want to avoid all this, you can go for a water filter. A water filter is something that you put on your shower head and will help filter the hard water so that you’re left with softer water. This is a live safer if you want to have great hair!

Your shower water is harder than it needs to be

Your hair is producing a lot of oils

Some people have naturally oily hair, which can lead to the feeling of stickiness. Consult a dermatologist for advice on managing excessive oil production.

You don’t have a healthy diet

A poor diet can affect your hair’s health, making it more prone to stickiness. For me this happened in my teen years when I left home to study. I went from my mother cooking healthy meals to Mickey D’s a more than I want to admit. From then on my hair always was greasy and sticky.

When I switched back to healthy diet (my mom started cooking for me and gave it to me when I visited in the weekends), my hair started to get normal again. Both my skin and my hair improved.

You’re not using clean tools

Using dirty brushes, combs, and styling tools is a surefire way to sticky hair. That’s why it is important to clean your tools regularly.

If there is any dirt, sweat or other buildup from products on the comb or brush, you are going to transfer that into your hair.

So, don’t be lazy. Clean your tools so that you don’t get sticky hair.

It might be that you have skin issues

If you’ve done all the above and you still have sticky hair even after you’ve washed it, it might be that you have some skin issues that need to be looked at.

If you have underlying skin issues that affect the health of your hair and your scalp, you can try everything under the sun, but it most likely won’t help if you don’t treat the root cause.

Skin conditions, such as seborrhea, can cause your scalp to be oilier, leading to sticky hair. So, If you suspect a skin issue may be the cause, please consult with a dermatologist.

How to Get Rid of Sticky Hair After Washing

Clean All Your Tools Regularly

Keeping your hair tools clean is essential for maintaining healthy and not greasy hair. Brushes, combs, hair ties, and other styling accessories collect dirt, oil, and product residue that can transfer back to your hair and contribute to the sticky hair feeling. Be sure to wash these tools with warm water and soap regularly.

Eat a Diet That Is Rich in Great Food for Your Body

A healthy diet can improve your hair condition. Eating a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, can help maintain your hair’s health and reduce greasiness. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, nuts, and seeds), biotin (eggs, avocados, lentils), antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E support hair health.

Use a Perfect Shampoo and Conditioner

The right shampoo and conditioner can make a noticeable difference in your hair’s texture. Experiment with different brands and formulas to find the perfect match for your hair type. Additionally, consider using a clarifying shampoo once a week to help remove any product buildup from your hair.

Ditch Products That Are Too Heavy for Your Hair

Heavy hair products can weigh down your hair, causing it to become greasy and sticky. Styling creams, thick conditioners, and some oils might not be suitable for your hair type. Opt for lightweight alternatives designed for your specific hair type that won’t leave residue behind.

Use a Water Softener

Hard water is rich in minerals that can make hair feel sticky. It may be beneficial to install a water softener in your shower to help reduce the mineral content in your water, preventing hair from feeling sticky after washing.

Do Your Research Before Buying Products

Before investing in new hair care products, take time to research what ingredients and formulas would be most appropriate for your hair type. Read online reviews and consult hairstylists or dermatologists to help find the best products for your specific needs.

Go to a Dermatologist to Check If You Have Any Skin Issues That Can Cause Sticky Hair

Persistent sticky hair may signal underlying skin issues, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis. A dermatologist can identify and treat these conditions and inform you of the best hair care products for your specific situation.

Does the environment or climate play a role in causing sticky hair?

Definitely! The environment and climate you live in can have a significant impact on the way your hair feels, particularly after washing. Factors such as humidity, pollution, and the presence of heavy metals in your environment can all contribute to that sticky sensation you might be experiencing.

In areas with high humidity, the excess moisture in the air can lead to your hair feeling sticky and heavy. This occurs because the moisture interacts with the proteins in your hair, causing it to become curly and potentially frizzy. The moisture can also make your hair more prone to attracting dirt and pollutants, which only adds to the sticky feeling. Be sure to take extra care of your hair during humid periods, using appropriate hair products designed to combat frizz and keep it clean.

Pollution plays its part too. Living in a heavily polluted area can expose your hair to various harmful chemicals that can cause stickiness, dullness, and even hair loss. To minimize the effects of pollution on your hair, it is essential to cleanse your hair thoroughly, using a good quality shampoo and conditioner, and considering hair masks or treatments to help remove the pollutants and restore the natural balance and shine to your strands.

Lastly, heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and aluminum are known to affect hair health. These metals can interfere with hormone levels, depriving your hair of nutrients, and causing stickiness alongside other issues. To tackle heavy metal exposure, be aware of the sources in your environment (such as chemical factories or disaster zones) and try to limit your exposure as much as possible.

In conclusion, yes, the environment and climate do play a role in causing sticky hair. By being aware of these factors and taking appropriate care of your hair, you can help to improve its overall health and reduce stickiness after washing.

Are there any hair types more prone to stickiness than others?

While all hair types can potentially experience stickiness after washing, some hair types may be more prone to this issue. Generally, individuals with fine or thin hair are more susceptible to sticky hair, as their strands can get easily weighed down by products or their scalp’s natural oils.

If you have wavy or curly hair (type 2 or 3), you may also experience some level of stickiness. This is because the shape of your hair makes it harder for the natural oils from your scalp to travel down your hair shaft. As a result, your hair may hold onto products and residues more easily, leading to a sticky feeling after washing.

Coily hair (type 4), on the other hand, may be less prone to stickiness because the tight curls can create more distance between the scalp and hair’s ends. However, this hair type has its own set of challenges, as it tends to be more prone to dryness and breakage.

To address the issue of stickiness, it’s essential to use the right products for your hair type, paying close attention to the ingredients. You should also take care to rinse your hair thoroughly after washing, ensuring that shampoo and conditioner are completely removed. If you’re still experiencing stickiness, consider trying a clarifying shampoo or a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse to remove any lingering product build-up.

Remember, finding the best hair care routine is a matter of trial and error. Be patient, and listen to what your hair is telling you in order to find the most suitable products and methods for your unique hair type.

Are there any side effects of using certain treatments or products to tackle sticky hair that are described above?

Yes, there could be side effects of using certain treatments or products to address sticky hair. For instance, if you’re using minoxidil for hair growth, side effects may occur, although they’re not always common. It’s crucial to consult your doctor if you notice your hair loss continuing after two weeks or if hair growth doesn’t increase after using minoxidil for four months 1.

In the case of salicylic acid, which is often found in over-the-counter products for acne treatment, it’s known for exfoliating the skin and keeping pores clear. Although salicylic acid might be helpful for some people with sticky and oily hair, it’s essential to be aware of possible side effects, such as skin irritation or dryness2. Make sure to follow the product’s instructions and consult with a professional if you’re unsure.

An allergic reaction to adhesives found in certain hair care products is another potential issue. Symptoms of adhesive allergy may include blisters, itchy skin, flaking skin, and rash. Mild reactions might only appear in the area where the adhesive was applied, but severe reactions can also occur3. Reaching out to your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and get advice on how to proceed is recommended in such cases.

Remember to be cautious and informed when trying new treatments or products for sticky hair. Always consult with a professional if you’re unsure about a product and be mindful of any unusual symptoms or reactions that may occur.


  1. Minoxidil (Topical Route) Side Effects – Mayo Clinic
  2. Salicylic Acid for Acne: Benefits, Dosages, and Side Effects – Healthline
  3. Adhesive Allergy: Diagnosis, Treatment and More – Verywell Health

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