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“My Hair Feels Sticky After Dyeing It” – Why & How To Fix

Many people often ask the question: Why does my hair feel sticky after dyeing it? Some people panic when they realize their hair is sticky and fear it might break; that is not the case. Some common reasons include using excess oil, the wrong shampoo, and hard water, among others.

Unfortunately, very few people know what to do when their hair feels sticky. Consequently, they opt for DIY solutions, most of which may not be effective. Continue reading to find out why your hair feels sticky after dyeing it and ways to fix the problem.

Why Does My Hair Feel Sticky After Dyeing It?

Although you feel like you are maintaining your hair with all the fancy hair products, chances are that constant usage translates to slow residue and oil buildup.

So, if your hair feels waxy, sticky, or slimy after dyeing it, you may be overusing some hair products. Here are four common reasons for sticky hair:

Product and Oil Buildup

Why Does Hair Feel Sticky After Dyeing It - Product Buildup

Sticky or waxy hair may indicate residue buildup. Residue, in this case, means leftover shampoo, conditioner, and hair oils. Hairstyling products may contain excessive oils and water-resistant polymers, contributing to the oily films on your hair strands.

Use of Hard Water

If your home receives hard water, you may notice some sticky and waxy residue forming on your hair strands. This is because hard water contains high mineral levels such as magnesium and calcium, creating barriers and preventing moisture in your hair, causing dryness.

This, in turn, translates to excessive sebum production, causing residue buildup.

Using the Wrong Shampoo

Why Does Hair Feel Sticky After Dyeing It - Wrong Shampoo

You may worsen the situation by washing your hair with silicone shampoos after dyeing it.

While silicone shampoos are good for maintenance, they are not suitable for all hair types. Why? Because they do not allow hair to breathe. They clog the hair follicles and fibers, accumulating waxy films.

Poor Washing Techniques

Washing your colored hair with hot water and not rinsing the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly may result in waxy buildup.

However, do not worry; now that you understand the problem, there are ways to solve the issue and restore shine and body to your hair.

What Does Sticky Hair After Dyeing Indicate?

Sticky, mushy, or gummy hair after dyeing means your hair has had many processed chemicals that have severely damaged its structure.

You may notice that your hair may feel harsh and straw-like when dry and sticky when damp. As such, it is crucial to visit a hair professional for further hair assessment.

How To Prevent Hair from Becoming Sticky After Dyeing?

How To Prevent Hair from Becoming Sticky After Dyeing?

If there is one thing that most people cannot put up with is sticky hair. It often looks and feels disgusting and can cause itchiness causing a lot of discomfort.

Here are several ways to prevent your hair from becoming sticky after dyeing.

Change Your Hair Products

There is a high possibility that most of the hair creams, oils, and sprays you use leave behind a sticky film on your hair strands.

As such, consider changing some of your hair products to lighter and water-based hair solutions discarding any with heavy oils, silicone, or petroleum.

Adopt a New Diet

Eating a proper diet will work wonders for your physique and hair growth. Thus, to reduce stickiness in your hair, consider drinking a lot of water and eating more fruits and vegetables.

Also, avoid consuming junk and fatty foods that may produce excessive sebum resulting in a sticky or gummy buildup in your hair.

How To Fix Hair That Feels Sticky & Waxy After Coloring

How To Fix Hair That Feels Sticky & Waxy After Coloring

Many often wonder how to safely protect their color-treated hair and still remove the stickiness from their locks.

It is essential to understand that the product you choose should at least be gentle on your skin and contain ingredients that do not harm your hair follicles.

So, if you realize your hair is sticky and waxy after coloring, here are a few ways to fix the problem.

  • Get a protein treatment: While normal and healthy hair often appears voluminous and shiny, Sticky or waxy hair appears dull, flat, dry, and limp. This may indicate a lack of enough protein in your hair resulting in residue buildup. Consider going to the salon for a protein treatment to revitalize your strands and get your hair healthy.
  • Refrain from washing your hair daily: Sticky-colored hair is caused by over-shampooing and over-washing, making it too dry. Thus, due to the increased moisture loss, your body compensates by releasing more sebum creating a waxy film on your strands. To fix the problem, consider washing your hair less frequently.
  • Install a water filter if your home receives hard water: Hard water has a reputation for leaving your hair dry, and the presence of minerals can result in residue buildup, causing your colored hair to be sticky. Thus, consider installing a water filter or a water softener in your home to filter out the minerals or convert them to soft water for easier cleaning.

DIY Home Remedies

  • Baking soda scrub: You can opt for a baking soda scrub to remove stickiness from color-treated hair. However, as baking soda is a durable cleanser, it can remove some of the dye from your hair but not the buildup.
  • Apple cider vinegar solution scrub: Diluting one part of apple cider vinegar with two pieces of water can cleanse the scalp and remove any buildup in your colored hair.

What Products Should I Use To Get Rid of the Stickiness?

Products To Use To Get Rid of Hair Stickiness after Coloring

Product buildup or a sticky scalp and hair is often unpleasant to look at or touch.

However, there are many products and hacks for cleaning dyed hair. Here are two recommended products that you should use to address the stickiness.

Use a Clarifying Shampoo

To remove any excess buildup from color-treated hair, it is crucial to wash your hair thoroughly using a color-safe shampoo brand such as clarifying shampoos.

They often contain active ingredients such as surfactants and chelating agents beneficial for deep cleaning your hair and stripping off excess oil and residue buildup on your hair’s scalp, follicles, and strands.

Additionally, washing your colored hair with a clarifying shampoo removes any mineral deposits or buildup of hair products that can cause fading.

Apple Cider Vinegar Solution

According to Joshua Zeichner, a doctor of medicine, Apple cider vinegar is more than a staple food ingredient. He argues that an apple cider vinegar solution can cleanse the scalp and hair when adequately diluted with water.

It may help prevent and eradicate any hair product buildup and balance your hair oil production, reducing any excessive buildup that may occur over time.

However, apple cider vinegar can irritate the skin or scalp and may strip off color after dyeing. Thus, it is essential to mix the right portions with water, knead the mixture in your hair, and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it off and using a color-correct conditioner.


Your hair may feel sticky and waxy after coloring for several reasons. They include excess product buildup, using the wrong shampoo, washing your hair with hard water, and washing your hair frequently.

So, it is crucial to use the right products and follow the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures for dyed hair to ensure it does not feel sticky or waxy.


Here are common FAQs about hair feeling sticky after dyeing it.

How long to wait to use shampoo if my hair feels sticky after dyeing?

You must leave freshly dyed hair for at least 72 hours before washing and shampooing it. This avoids lifting the color right from the hair strands. 

Does sticky hair after dyeing indicate damaged hair?

Yes, sticky hair after dyeing may indicate that you have damaged hair. In most cases, if your hair is used for chemical processing such as relaxing, bleaching, and coloring and using heated appliances to straighten or curl it, your hair cuticles may appear dull and waxy.

How long does hair dye take to settle in hair?

Hair dyes and colors often need at least 48 hours to settle in your hair.

As such, you mustn’t wash or shampoo your hair immediately after dyeing it. Many hair professionals advise waiting about 24 hours before washing to reduce the risk of rinsing off the color or dye.