The LOC Method is hands down the best ways to moisturize natural hair. And it’s done in 3 easy steps!!!
Moisturizing natural hair is a two-fold process.
Each step of your hair routine should either 1.) add moisture or water to your hair or 2.) help to retain or prevent the loss of moisture.
Once you understand the purpose your hair regimen its easier to moisturize more effectively.
Below I’ll give you a full breakdown for natural hair. But you can use it on relaxed hair as well. You’ll also find ways to apply it to every type 4 hair: 4a, 4b, and 4c, textures; thick, thin or fine, porosity; normal, low, & hair
What does LOC Method Mean?
LOC Method or L.O.C. Method Means Liquid Oil Cream Method!!!
Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell of Alikay Naturals credits herself for coining the term and trademarking it.
What is the Liquid Oil Cream Method or LOC Method & How Does It Work?
The Liquid Oil Cream Method or L.O.C. method is a technique for moisturizing hair.
It consists of hydrating the hair with water or a water-based product which is your liquid, sealing in the moisture with oil and then applying a cream product to close the hair cuticle which prevents moisture loss.
The L.O.C. Method or Liquid Oil Cream Method is a guide for how to apply your products to ensure your hair is moisturized and stays moisturized longer.
It’s one of the best ways to moisturize when done with the right products and in the right order; in 3 simple steps.
It consist of hydrating the hair with water which is your liquid or L, hold on to that moisture with oil or O and then applying a cream (C) product to close the hair cuticle which prevents moisture loss or act as a sealer.
Here’s Why It Works!!!
The LOC (Liquid Oil Cream) Method moisturizes natural hair in 3 simple steps.
It’s scientifically one of the best ways to moisturize natural hair when done with the right products and in the right order.
Let’s explore 3 Reasons Why It Really Works to moisturize hair.
Many women with natural hair have found great success with this method. This is completely understandable. It really makes sense.
I was using this method long before I realized there was a name for it. When it comes to getting my hair care information from the internet I always question the science behind it.
If you’re interested in finding out more. I highly recommend my bestselling Guide to Healthy Hair. Check here for more information
Here’s an updated version of how to use the LOC Method after shampooing & conditioning your hair.
Three Reasons the LOC method Works to Moisturize Hair
1. Water Equals Moisture
When it comes to moisturizing, water is moisture. Its a no-brainer that adding water as the liquid to your hair is going to moisturize and hydrate.
The issue is retaining that moisture from water. And that’s where the other 2 components of the L.O.C. method comes into play.
2. Oil Helps the Hair Hold on to Water Molecules
This is where the method loses some people. And for good reason. It’s true that oil and water don’t mix. And if you aren’t using oils that penetrate the hair its best to use your cream before your oil or LCO Method.
But certain natural oils have the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and bind with the hair internal structure or protein. These oils are coconut, olive, and avocado oil.
They increase the hair’s ability to hold on to water molecules. Coconut oil is also polar and saturated oils and proven to help to reduce protein loss during each shampoo. This keeps the hair strong and prevents breakage.
3. Cream Locks In Moisture
There’s a little controversy as to what is an appropriate cream. Some women consider their conditioner creams, or their styling products. And this is ok. Many of these products do have ingredients that will act as moisture sealants.
But it’s important that your cream is moisturizing. Your cream in this instance should seal the hair cuticle or act as a sealant. I personally use my leave-in conditioner as my cream.
But let’s not get caught up on the word cream. Because the best creams when it comes to this method may or may not be creams at all. The purpose of the cream component is to seal or lock in moisture introduced from L & O.
Natural products that seal and coat the hair are ideal. They are more likely to retain moisture but still allow the hair to take in additional moisture in the case of rehydration between shampoos or co-washes.
The best coating oils are Castor, Grapeseed, and Jojoba. They act as sealants. They can also act as emollients that lubricate and fill in gaps along the hair cuticle to prevent moisture loss.
If you have extremely dry hair and/or live in harsh winter climates consider using natural butters like Shea or Mango as your cream for this step. I get the best styling results when I seal my ends with whipped Shea Butter and Aloe Vera Gel. But I usually only reserve Whipped Shea Butter for the winter months.
How To Do The LOC Method On Any Hair Type
Let’s do a quick breakdown of the L.O.C Method or as I like to call it Moisturizing Product Layering Method.
To reap the most benefits, your liquid should always be water especially during your wash day routine.
Again the LOC Method is more about effective product layering.
Your first step in moisturizing your hair should always be to add moisture.
Water = Moisture
But it’s ok to use a water-based product or spray water on the hair in between wash days.
This means you can do it every day depending on how your hair is styled.
You probably remember me mentioning my Daily Moisturizing Mist which includes Distilled or Spring Water, Aloe Vera Juice, and Vegetable Glycerin.
The first two ingredients are at your local grocery store.
You can buy Vegetable Glycerin here It really does make a difference.
It softens the hair and helps it receive moisture better as you read earlier.
The type of oil you use is very important.
There are tons of oils and they all have a multitude of benefits. But some oils sit on the hair while others have the ability to absorb or penetrate into the inner structure of the hair.
Read on for more details on penetrating oils.
Oils will not add moisture to your hair. I’m sure you know that.
But penetrating oils do function as moisturizers in the sense that they aid the hair in maintaining or retaining moisture from water. Feel free to read why these 3 oils are the best for your hair and how they aid to moisturize hair.
“Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Avocado Oil are Hair Penetrating Oils”
Cream causes a little confusion because there’s not really a right or wrong cream product. It’s all about personal preference. As long as your cream seal in moisture, it’s all good!!! But we talked about that, remember?
Effective Product Layering will help you gain the full moisturizing benefits of your hair regimen resulting in healthier and longer hair.
3 Things You Can Do When The LOC Method Does Not Work
First thing, if your hair is dry after trying this, you may have product build-up. This just means, it’s time to shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
Secondly, try switching the order in which You Use The Products or Add Additional Products. See more below.
Liquid, Cream, Oil (LCO) Method for Low Porosity Hair
Layering products also called LCO Method works like the LOC Method, but it’s a simple switcheroo.
On the hair it allow us to control how much moisture is absorbed and how quickly it evaporates. Hair can be styled wet or damp, with heavy or light liquids, creams, and oils.
Let’s examine how low porosity strands respond to the LOC method.
When saturated with a liquid, low porosity hair will slowly absorb and retain just the moisture it needs.
Once a cream is added, it will absorb the water content from the product, leaving the rest to coat and seal its strands. Then, when oil is applied, the two outermost layers will mix and form a thicker barrier to protect the strands.
Depending on how low your hair’s porosity is, this cream and oil mix can leave your hair weighed down and greasy.
LOC Method for High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair often responds more favorably to layering creams and oils. When wet, it quickly takes in more liquid than it needs, which causes swelling and lifting of its scales.
Once a cream is applied, it absorbs a lot of the product and leaves only a little to coat and relax/smooth the cuticles. The right oil will mix with the cream layer and create a lighter, more flexible coating.
Adding oil after a liquid can protect high porosity hair by sealing its cuticles and preventing hygral fatigue. This is damage that occurs from repeated expansion and contracting of hair fibers. After penetration, a small amount of the oil is left to coat the hair. When a cream is applied, what’s needed is absorbed and what’s left acts as a protective coating against environmental elements (evaporation, damaging sun rays, etc.).
If you have high porosity hair, here are 4 things you can do to improve your hair’s porosity.
Similar to the above routine, the LOC method can leave low porosity hair weighed down with product buildup. To prevent this, consider using a lightweight oil opposed to thick, penetrating ones like coconut and olive oils. Jojoba, sweet almond and argan oils will coat the hair while still allowing strands to breathe. Then, when a cream is applied, hair will feel smooth and slick without the greasiness.
Which is Best for Low or High Porosity?
Like with every piece of hair advice, you have to experiment and see what you and your hair likes.
For low porosity hair that’s also very thick, layering may not cause product buildup so you won’t have to do the switch of oil or cream.
If you do have product build, try eliminating one layer at a time to see which provides maximum moisture (LC or LO).
For hair that’s highly porous or has high porosity but not fatigued, then LCO is your way to go. And if not? Try LOCing in moisture with oil first to kiss dry, dull, lifeless hair goodbye.
Stylist Recommendation for Hair Types 4a, 4b, and 4c as well as fine hair
Markeita S. Pruitt, a natural hair stylist with more than 15 years of experience with multiple textures shares how to use the LOC Method on the following
- 4a/4b Hair Type
- 4b/4c Hair Type
- & Fine Hair
Hands down the L.O.C. method is one of the best ways to moisturize and retain moisture regardless of hair. But it may not work the same on every hair type.
If you’re confused about your hair type, don’t fret here are some resources to help you: Everything You Need To Know About Hair Typing.
Being so, it’s important to know how to make it work for your hair in order to maximize moisture and keep hair as healthy as possible.
The original LOC method requires the use of a Liquid ( water or water based leave in), Oil (natural, essential oil of choice), and a Cream (creamy moisturizer).
I stumbled upon this method in search of a way to seal in moisture after a bout of breakage and extreme dryness. This method saved my hair!
So, it only made sense for me to implement this when working with my clients. But, after encountering different types and textures, I had to tweak this method to optimize the moisture levels.
#1 L.C.O | Liquid Cream Oil for 4a/4b Hair
It’s so important to set the stage for whatever choice of styling you like. I have found that this method works best for fine to medium 4a/4b types. So after the use of a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, I always follow with a water based leave in conditioner such as
Water Based Leave-In Conditioner
After misting hair with leave in or working it through, I follow with a cream moisturizer. Below are some stylist recommendations.
- Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream
- Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter
- Jane Carter Solutions Hair Nourishing Cream
At this stage, I seal with my favorite oil which is either
- Softsheen Carson Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Sheen Seal Nectar
- Qhemet Biologics Castor & Moringa Softening Serum
- EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Oil
#2 L.O.C(S) | Liquid Oil Cream (Sealant) for 4b/4c Hair
During consultations, I have clients tend to mention having a hard time retaining moisture in medium to coarse 4b/4c hair types. I’ve learned that after a deep conditioning treatment rinsed with cool water, I will opt for a creamier leave in conditioner, which I mix with either argan oil or castor oil.
After doing so, and working through thoroughly, I will use one of the moisturizers (listed above) and then end with a sealant. In this case, a sealant is described as a butter such as
- Qhemet Biologics Aethiopika Hydrate Twist Butter
- Jane Carter Solution All Natural Nourish and Shine for Dry Hair
- Shine or Natty Naturals Natty Butter
This will seal in moisture and also set the perfect foundation for protective styling, providing long lasting moisture.
#3 L.O.C.O | Liquid Oil Cream Oil for Fine Hair
Though the methods listed above have proven very effective for me as a stylist, in my research, I’ve had clients refer to one other method used at home, in between visits. It’s the Liquid(leave in), Oil (light Oil – grapeseed, peppermint tea tree, etc), Cream moisturizer, and Oil (Heavy Oil – Castor Oil, Coconut, Olive, etc).
Though similar to the #2 L.O.C.S. method, this, for fine/medium textures, won’t weigh the hair down.
So, a lot of times, it’s not necessarily what you are using, but the order in which the products are applied. Which method do you best prefer?
What Product Should You Use?
Water is your friend. Starting with freshly shampooed and conditioned hair is your first step. If you’re between wash day, use a moisturizing spray or spary leave-in condtioner spray like any of these.
Products for your Liquid or L
Products for your Oil or O
As mentioned above which oil you use depends a few variables; your preferences, hair type, hair texture, and porosity.
The best oils for hair and scalp are coconut, olive, and avocado oil because they can enter the hair shaft. Regardless of your hair type or texture, these 3 are a great starting point for your hair.
You can read more on Why Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Avocado Oil are the BEST for Natural Hair!!!
Best Oils For Natural Hair…
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
I personally like to blend a mixture of all three of these oils for my wash day routine. Read more on how I use these oils daily.~Tamara of Natural Hair Rules
But sometimes you need something that lighter or heavier. Light oils are Jojoba, Peppermint, and Almond Oils. (These are highly recommend for finer hair textures.)
Heavy oils are castor, coconut, and olive oils.
Products for your Cream or C
Creamy products can be a daily moisturizer, styling cream, natural sealant or leave-in conditioner. You decide based on your hair and its needs which order would work the best.
I personally like to use a leave-in conditioner and then proceed to style with Eden Body Works Curling Creme.
Find the full list of natural hair products here.