How To Remove Waxy Buildup From Hair

how to remove waxy build up from hair

For the most part, I feel like I have pretty great hair. This is most likely at least partially attributed to my small amount of Spanish and Italian heritage (thanks, AncestryDNA), but it did take me a while to figure out how to remove waxy buildup from hair.

Welcome To My Waxy Hair Buildup Problem

There is one majorly annoying thing about my hair, and that is the fact that all types of hair products seem to attach and cling on to my hair. Seriously, I can wash my hair 18 times, and when I’m done, there will be so much waxy hair buildup that it looks I didn’t even wash it.

It’s disgusting and it ruins my day.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to get away with using the shampoos and conditioners that said they don’t contain any silicons, sulfates, or parabens. I’m not sure which of those ingredients was causing the problem.

I’m no hair scientist, but I did discover that using products without that stuff in it solved the problem. At least for a while. A month or two ago, that stopped working for whatever reason. It was truly miserable.

After doing some Googling, I saw people suggesting using Dawn dish soap. I was desperate, so I gave that a whirl.

I mean, I guess it worked. It made my hair feel like straw, though. I lost so much hair that it completely clogged the shower drain.

I quit using it because I didn’t want to go bald, and mostly because, cleaning shower drains is one of the most disgusting things in the universe.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This mean, that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Then, I did some searching on Amazon and tried using Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. It had thousands of great reviews, and it seemed like my best bet.

That worked okay. I’d give it about a 6 or 7/10. Sometimes, I’d use it twice in the shower, and then follow up with a conditioner. It definitely lessened the amount of buildup, but it wasn’t perfect. It was drying and caused me to get split-ends quicker than I normally would.

Eventually, I was convinced that I needed to find a different conditioner, too. Maybe the conditioner was the problem.

I started using TIGI Bed Head Re-Energize Shampoo and Conditioner Duo, since I felt like the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo was drying out my hair (although not as much as the freaking dish soap), and that I needed a better shampoo and conditioner to attempt to combat the dryness issue.

It did make my hair feel less dry, but after continued use, I was back where I started. More and more waxy buildup in my hair.

After this most wonderful ordeal, believe it or not, I went to Wal-Mart and just looked for any type of shampoo that included the words “clean” or “cleansing” in it. That’s when I stumbled upon the gem known as Matrix Biolage Normal Clean Reset Shampoo.

It’s the only thing that’s working, and right now, my hair actually looks clean. It doesn’t feel weighed down, and I don’t look like Severus Snape (RIP Alan, wands up) with a greasy, matted pile of hair on top of my head. It is what dreams are made of.

It’s also listed in my Top 10 Amazon Purchases of 2018, if you’d like to take a look there.

My New and Improved Hair Routine

The fact that I even have a hair routine says a lot because I don’t have any type of routine with anything else in my life. I shampoo with the Matrix Biolage Normal Clean Reset Shampoo, and I use the conditioner from the TIGI Bed Head Re-Energize Shampoo and Conditioner Duo.

And here is quite possibly the most important tip you will ever read:

Apply very, very, minimal conditioner to your roots. Regardless of which conditioner you’re using. You can put as much as you want on the ends, but as soon as it starts to coat your roots, you may as well wash your hair with shampoo all over again. There will be loads of buildup.

After all that, I spray in it’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. It was recommended to me by the girl who cuts my hair. I blow dry and straighten my hair every day, and since I’ve started using this, I don’t have a ton of split-ends.

Actually, to be completely honest, I can’t find a single split-end on my head, which is unbelievable, I know. It’s a Miracle. A 10 Miracle.

UPDATE: It is February 16, 2020 (two years since I originally posted this), and I STILL use these products everyday!

Anyway, as much as I don’t hope that someone else has to suffer from this weird, buildup problem, I hope that if you do, you are able to find this blog post helpful. I did a lot of Googling. There were a lot of recommendations that tell you to mix up all these crazy concoctions to use on your hair.

As much as I may have looked like a greasy-haired, professor from the wizarding world, I’m actually not. I most definitely don’t have the time to be making my own homemade shampoo elixirs that may or may not work.

If this helped you, please share on Pinterest (and/or all other social media outlets)!

how to remove waxy buildup from hair

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  • Reply
    February 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Matrix is a great brand. I will certainly try it out.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2018 at 12:43 am

    This sounds like a great product! I used to have that issue with waxy build up from products as well!

  • Reply
    Stella at StellaNadene
    February 24, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    So, my sister and I have literally the opposite hair type. Mine is super fine, and conforms to heat instantly. Hers is like a horse’s mane and is the arch nemesis of all hair styling tools. (I know this because I used to have to French braid her hair-which was like waist-length-in high school). I’m def passing this on to her, because she has this same issue with products clinging for dear life to her hair as well!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2019 at 7:52 am

    My teenage daughter experienced “waxy” hair when we started using a dandruff shampoo for a small patch of scalp psoriasis. It was such a strange phenomenon. After reading a million remedies on Dr. “Google,” someone said Johnson’s baby shampoo worked for them. She tried it and it WORKED! Perfectly. No more waxy hair! Something is weird in dandruff shampoos. I thought it might be the H&S brand, but she tried others after that and they caused that stickiness too. And the baby shampoo took it away. It’s really worth trying….

  • Reply
    April 28, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    The Biolage/Tigi Bed Head combination has really helped my teenage daughter with waxy build-up. Do you have a recommendation for a new conditioner now that Tigi has re-vamped the Urban Essentials products? Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 27, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Yes! I actually use the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine fortifying conditioner. It’s super inexpensive and you can get it anywhere. Still using the same Matrix Biolage shampoo, though.

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