Oily Hair and Possible Solutions

I've had oily hair occasionally before but this was noticeably different. A sticky/waxy/greasy patch right on the top of my head that never improved, and appeared almost suddenly. I've used Pantene on and off and never had this problem, and started using it again for a couple weeks and then it started. I also live in an old building on school campus with tiles in the shower, so not sure if that had anything to do with it.

I think Pantene may have played a large part. It's almost a twisted humor, but it's funny that Pantene's commercials advertise that they form a seal around the hair shaft - and this could be the very reason it gave us all this nightmare experience!


I'm also in the medical field so I looked up all my references and it didn't have much on this specific problem. I think you need to differentiate between purely waxy hair with NO scalp symptoms, and something else. Another key is that it appears SUDDENLY and all at once, rather than gradually which would be more common in the below diagnoses.

Seborrheic dermatitis: the scalp may be red/itchy. This can also affect the skin behind the ears, the forehead, face, and even the chest. It can also lead to dandruff that is yellow, big and crusty.

Scalp dandruff: this often comes with an itchy, red, irritated scalp, and should normally improve with anti-fungal shampoos like Head & Shoulders, Nizoral.

Hormones and stress can change your body's oil production but I think this can be ruled out if right when you wash your hair and dry, it is still noticeably oily/greasy. Normal oil from your scalp should be able to be washed out.


- Suave clarifying shampoo and others such as Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo
- Dishsoap- Dawn and Palmolive
- Original Listerine/Alcohol: I think the main reason here is the alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can also be used but make sure to water it down.
- Lemon juice/Vinegar: Similarly, I think the main reason here is the acid. Water it down.
- Tea tree oil mixed into shampoo: this kills fungi, so better if you think you have a fungal infection (see above).

For me, I used Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo and shampooed twice - slight improvement. Then I used lemon juice, mixed with rice wine vinegar, and diluted with water. I first shampooed/rinsed with the Neutrogena, poured about 2 cups of the lemon/vinegar over the area, and shampooed again with Neutrogena - letting it sink in at each stage. Now, my hair is about 95% better!!!

It's a shame that doctors don't know anything about this. I'm never using Pantene again and going to pay closer attention to the ingredients.

Back to Sticky residue on hair no matter what I wash it in

Answers and Comments for Oily Hair and Possible Solutions

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Aug 24, 2019
Waxy scalp
by: Helene

I have used all oil detox products and apple cider vinegar but nothing solves the waxy scalp , it’s not red but its driving me mad and my skin is also feeling waxy , my hair is ok it’s my scalp. I wash it and it’s back straight after , please help

Oct 01, 2017
Waxy hair
by: Anonymous

I cannot for the life of me figure this out. I recently moved to a house with a oil boiler and water softening system. Hair came out normal after washing. Then one chilly morning I turned on the oil boiler. Washed my hair and it was waxy. Also my hands when I used hot water. I called the water softener serviceman and came to the conclusion that it was the salt pellets (he recommended not using because they have some kind of glue in them) and to use salt crystals instead. He scooped out the pellets and put in crystals.Within a couple days, hair was normal again (but I had turned the heat off too). Meanwhle, had the oil burner yearly serviced too. Turned heat on yesterday and took shower. Hair was waxy again! Hot water heater can be run by oil or electric. So I am so confused about why this waxy feeling comes only when I turned the burner on. Anyone else ever have this happen?

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