Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky?-Reasons Explained!

Natural silky balanced hair is what we all desire. But our hair doesn’t always stay like that. At times it might feel greasy, oily, and sticky. We don’t even understand why our hair feels this way. 

So you’re asking why does my hair feel sticky?

Well, it might feel sticky if you’ve got product build-up on your hair. Or it can be a symptom of fungal disease. It’s also possible that your cuticles got damaged somehow. Or you’re not washing the hair enough.

It’s not possible to list all the reasons in one single paragraph. So we wrote a whole article on it. Why don’t you read it through?

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky All The Time?

There are a lot of reasons why your hair might feel sticky all the time. It can be because you’ve naturally oily scalp and hair.

We all have different types of hair conditions. Some of us have dry frizzy hair all over our heads. And some of us got hair that’s oily. Even the scalp type differs for a lot of us. Because a lot of people have oily scalps.

A day without even washing the scalp can make the hair look greasy. And with it the hair will look super oily for oily scalps.

So if you’re one of them who has naturally oily hair, the hair might feel sticky. Because the oily scalp attracts dust and becomes greasy. And then dandruff builds up. So all the dust and grease together make a sticky substance on the scalp and hair.

Another reason might be that you have sticky hair syndrome. 

But sticky hair syndrome is as rare as it sounds. But there’s still a chance that you have this syndrome. In this case, your hair shafts will become matte. And then small sections of the hair will stick together.

It’s because the hair has formed a malodorous and moist mass. That resulted in the stickiness of your hair. But to be sure you need to consult with your doctor. 

You may also want to know – why does my hair feel like glue? Well, we’ve presented all the conditions for why your hair may feel this way. Or these can be the reasons why your hair feels sticky all the time.

So have a look at the reasons.

Washing The Hair Less

One reason might be that you’re washing your hair less. And that’s why there’s a lint buildup in your hair. The lint includes dirt, sweat, and other residues that might get stuck in hair.

And when you don’t wash it, the lint can make the hair extremely sticky and waxy. You’ll even see the lint on your hairbrush as well. So it all connects to not washing the hair regularly. 

Product Buildup

We use a lot of products on our hair and scalp. For example, we use shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, pomade, oil serums, and whatnot. But if we fail to remove these products properly from the hair and scalp, they create a layer on the scalp.

The layer is somehow damaging for the hair. The product buildup restrains oils and serums to reach the hair core and scalp. As a result, the hair loses moisture and nutrients that we apply to it.  Eventually, you’ll see hair fall.

Before that, the scalp and hair would be sticky from the leftover product residue. 

Cuticle Damage

There are times when we go through cuticle damage. Mostly expired hair products do severe damage to the hair cuticle. When you damage the cuticle, a waxy substance comes out of it.  This makes the hair sticky.

cuticle damage
Source: lewigs.com

It also happens if you have cuticle injuries. Sometimes you may cut the cuticle hair or the scalp area by accident. A waxy substance would come out. It’s similar to the substance that comes out from our elbows when it gets cut.

Fungal Disease

A few people have fungal diseases. It may happen because of using someone else’s hairbrush. Or if you’ve been using unclean products on your hair. Then the bacteria will stay and spread on your scalp.

As a result, your hair will be extremely sticky. But the fungal disease is treatable. Once you treat it properly, the stickiness will go away.

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Washing?

It might sound weird, but it actually happens. Your hair can feel sticky even after washing. The reasons why the hair feels sticky after washing are mentioned below. So have a look at them.

Over Conditioned

One mistake we make is over conditioning our hair. But that only happens because we got to know the benefits of conditioning. But when you over-condition the hair, it becomes much more silky and shiny.

And the formula of the conditioner is quite thick. So if you over-condition, then the hair might start to feel sticky. It’s because the hair is used to feeling that oily and smooth texture after conditioning. And it produces a lot of oil and sebum.

So gradually the hair becomes sticky. And if there’s leftover conditioner on your scalp, it’ll also make the hair and scalp greasy.

Hair Wasn’t Rinsed Properly

We’ve been talking about the conditioner not being properly washed out. And it can also happen with other hair products as well. Oil or hair styling gels might stay in the hair even after washing.

We’ve already mentioned that the product can stay on your scalp if not washed properly. So let’s emphasize that. You might use dozens of products on your scalp and hair. But using a lot of heavy products would result in a product buildup on your scalp. 

Once there’s a buildup it leads to other problems like waxy hair. Actually, the leftover product turns into dandruff and grease. Thus the stickiness comes.

Conditioner Too Strong

Another problem is that the conditioner might be too strong. That’s why it creates a thin layer of moisture on your hair and it might restore the natural oil. 

At a certain time, the oil production may be higher than normal. And this can turn your hair into something that’s sticky in nature.

Washing The Hair Too Often

You may have a habit of washing your hair too often. Well, we don’t blame you for that. But washing your hair too often will cause you some trouble. When you wash the hair too frequently, it starts to strip off moisture. 

Because shampoos have chemicals that work as cleansers.  They not only wash the hair but also take away natural oil as well.

washing the hair too often
 Source: brightside.me

So the hair becomes dry after each wash.  The scalp tries to provide moisture to the hair. As a result, it produces a huge amount of oil.  Finally, the hair becomes sticky due to over-produced oil.

Wrong Shampoo & Conditioner

So one thing we fall for is we use the wrong shampoo and conditioner. By wrong we mean the ones that are not suitable for your hair type. 

For example, you may have dry hair. In that case, if you use shampoo for oily scalp, the shampoo will make the scalp super dry. Because shampoos made for oily scalp will work on the scalp and remove extra oil. 

So if you already have dry hair, you’re lacking natural hair oil. So adding a shampoo made for oily scalp will complicate things more. As a result, your hair turns sticky. So lack of knowledge on which shampoo or conditioner to use might be the reason behind your sticky hair.

Washing Hair with Hard Water

One thing we do unknowingly is washing our hair with hard water. The water coming directly from the shower or tap is unrefined. So, there are chemicals that can be harmful to hair. 

They can make the hair rough and dry. Thus the hair can get sticky.

These might have been the reason why you have sticky hair all the time.

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Applying Hair Oil?

You might see that after applying hair oil or oil serums your hair feels sticky. To be honest, it happens to a lot of people. They might keep wondering why their hair feels that way. So here are the reasons why your hair might feel sticky.

Applying Oil Too Frequently

You may be applying hair oils too frequently. Our scalp naturally produces sebum, that is oil. So the natural oil delivers to the hairs closest to the scalp and spreads further.

So there’s no need to apply oil every single day. Sometimes you just need to let the scalp breathe and produce its own oil. So that the stickiness doesn’t happen.

 Try to apply the oil twice or once a week. This will keep your hair healthy!

Applying Sticky Hair Oils

While choosing oils, look for non-sticky formulas. Because sticky formulas will make the hair even more sticky.

There’s a lot of hair oil options available on the market. While purchasing, look for ones that have a silky formula but are not sticky. `

Keeping The Oil for A Longer Period

You may have always heard of keeping the hair for a longer period for better results. But let’s debunk the myth. You don’t have to put the hair oil on for the whole night to let it work.

It can nourish the hair in 2-3 hours only. The rest of the time it only just sucks excess oil to the scalp. So you won’t have to put it on overnight. Otherwise, you’d have extremely dry hair.

Because keeping the oil for a long time can make the hair sticky. And you won’t feel comfortable with the oil anymore. 

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Heating?

It is quite an unfamiliar concern that people have. But still, we’ve seen people complaining about their hair getting sticky after heating. So let’s see why it keeps happening.

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Straightening it?

You may just have finished straightening your hair. And then you see that the hair feels sticky. But you don’t get why on earth would this happen. So here’s what might have happened.

Heat Protection Spray Made The Hair Sticky

You might have applied heat protection spray on your hair. But the spray is thick in nature. Or you might have applied excessively. As a result, you have sticky hair.

One reason can be that your hair spray has expired. In that case, the hair might be extremely sticky.

Straightener Holds The Body Heat Generated by The Scalp

One thing you may not know about straightening is that it holds body heat. That means the scalp generates heat. And during the straightening process, it gets overheated. And the heat keeps sticking around the scalp.

So the scalp produces more sweat. And the sweat and natural scalp oil make the hair sticky.

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Blowdrying?

When you blow-dry, the heat sticks around your hair and scalp. If the hair is not pre-washed, dirt can also stick on the scalp during blow-drying.

As a result, the scalp tends to get greasy and oily. And finally, there’s stickiness all over the head. 

How to Get Rid of Sticky Hair?

Let’s assume that you have sticky hair. And you’ve been thinking about how to get rid of it now. Well, you can actually get rid of sticky hair if you follow the following directions carefully.

Then you’ll see that the stickiness has gone. 

Rinse Your Hair

The first thing to do if you have sticky hair is rinsing the hair. Wash the hair with filtered water.  Wash it as you like. If not washing the hair caused you sticky hair, washing will solve the problem.

So that minerals and other particles can not do harm to the hair. 

Use Baking Soda

You can mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water. Then rinse the hair with it. And keep it on the hair for 10 minutes. And wash the hair using a shampoo that will cleanse out the baking soda.

Use Aloe Vera Gel

You can use aloe vera gel after using the baking soda solution. Aloe vera will ensure enough moisture. Also, it will help to recover the dryness caused by baking soda on your hair.

You can wash off the aloe vera gel with normal water after keeping it for an hour.

Rinse with Vinegar And Water

One way to remove stickiness and grease is using a vinegar-water combo. We know vinegar has a lot of uses. But one of them is what you need. So mix 2 cups of white vinegar with 1-liter water. And then rinse your hair with it.

Then dry the hair naturally. And let the vinegar work on your hair and scalp. After an hour, wash the hair with a mild shampoo.

This way you’ll get rid of the acidic scent as well as the vinegar solution. 

Avoid Shampooing for A Week

If you’ve over-washed the hair, try to balance that. Keep yourself from washing the for a week. 

In between, your hair will regain the natural oil balance. After the week, wash your hair with shampoo. And maintain a shampoo schedule. For example, shampoo your hair at most thrice a week.

So that your hair stays clean and non-sticky at the same time.

Use Clarifying Shampoo

Well, we asked you to avoid shampooing for a week. But after the week is over, you can use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of further stickiness.

If you’re looking for shampoo suggestions, then it’s your lucky day. Because here are some suggestions on clarifying shampoos.

neutrogena anti-residue clarifying shampoo

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

sulfate free shampoo for oily hair

Sulfate Free Shampoo for Oily Hair

These clarifying shampoos work like magic on sticky hair. So try it and you’ll get rid of the stickiness.

By following these, you can get rid of the sticky hair issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why does my hair feel sticky after swimming?

Well, swimming pools have chlorine on the water to make it look clearer. But chlorine can damage your hair during swimming. That is why the hair feels super dry and sticky after swimming.

What does my hair feel sticky after olaplex treatment?

This is not common for people to complain about hair getting sticky after olaplex. But if the treatment formula has expired, then you can have sticky hair.

Is it okay to have sticky hair after dying the hair?

Well, if the formula is thicker than normal, you may have sticky hair. But removing the formula completely from hair will get you out of the stickiness.


Here we are at the end of this article. Here, you got to know the answer to why does my hair feel sticky. We’ve spilled everything we knew about this.

But we might have a few more questions on that. Then just comment below to get the answers.

Be safe!

Katharyn Riedel

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