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The LOC Method [Liquid.Oil.Cream]

The LOC Method Why It Works

The LOC (Liquid Oil Cream) Method moisturizes natural hair in 3 simple step. Its 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 the LOC method works to moisturize hair and how it works.

What is the Liquid Oil Cream Method or LOC Method

The Liquid Oil Cream Method or L.O.C method is a technique for moisturizing hair. It consist of hydrating the hair with water 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. 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. There is a lot of misinformation circulating, if you know what I mean. I looked to Audrey Davis-Sivaothy’s book, The Science of Black Hair for clarification on the LOC Method. If you do not have this book, order it now.

Three Reasons the LOC method Works to Moisturize Hair

1. Water = 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.

Read: 5 Ways Coconut Oil Helps to Prevent Hair Damage

3. Cream Locks In Moisture

There’s a little controversy as to what’s an appropriate cream. Some women consider their conditioners, creams, or their styling products. And this is ok. Many of these products do have ingredients that will act as moisture sealants.  But its 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-washs. 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.

Do You Use The Loc Method? What Products Do You Use?

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About Tamara Floyd

Tamara is the Founder and Editor of Natural Hair Rules!!! Natural Hair Rules (NHR) was originally created as a personal hair journal. Since its creation in 2008, it has grown to one of the top natural hair/beauty blogs online today.

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Comments

  1. catherine says:

    my hair is fine with low porosity,i would like to know how to moisturize while my hair is braided.should LOC method apply when the hair is left undone? because my hair is always in braids.

  2. MELODIE WOODS says:

    I transitioned in 2 1/2 years. I wear a 2 strand twist because I am not comfortable with my hair natural and loose yet, I wash and re-twist every 2 weeks. Two days before washing, I untwist and let my hair rest and I work on the de-tangling with my fingers process. Do you have any opinions on AS I AM products. I have been using them for a few months, and I think my hair likes it. Yes, they are expensive, but it appears that they last a relatively decent amount of time.

  3. Kamisha Cook says:

    My L.O.C. method is simple, water, aragon oil, curl enhance smoothie especially at the ends. The oil helps with detangling and keeps it smooth. Simple 4c weekly moisturizing routine. I don’t have to remoisturize for a week doing these steps.

  4. Well said. Will do this method too. Thanks for the information. Good day!

  5. Hello Tamara,

    I posted to your site last week and was wondering if you had any advice? Thanks in advance.

  6. Krystall says:

    I love this article, thanks for all the information! I was jw after the loc method do you proceeded with blow drying or will heat ruin the results? Should some steps take place after blow drying or be repeated?

    • Hi Krystall,

      Thank you for reading and great question. I follow each shampoo with the LOC method and when I’m blow drying my hair I also apply a little oil and leave-in conditioner to my hair before blow drying. I will be doing some follow -up post on the LOC Method and the best products for it and etc. Make sure you sign-up for update so you will be in the know. Sign-Up Here–> http://eepurl.com/Gemgn

  7. OMG! I’m glad that I found your site. I am 2 days post BC of my locs (loc’d 4 years) and I feel like my hair is missing something. I’m trying to be proactive and get a good regimen down along with giving my hair all that it needs since I’m essentially starting with all new growth. For some reason I was under the impression that coconut oil was a “sealant” and my process went something like: water/setting lotion, As I Am Leave-In, KeraCare Cream Moisturizer, Coconut Oil and then I finished with Biofusion critical care serum. I’m also figuring out that my hair has a high porosity but I have color so I read somewhere that I shouldn’t do an ACV rinse…I feel like I’m all over the place, LOL! Because my hair is sooooo short I need a process that’s going to do my little curlies right :). Please help!!!

    • I would simplify… Get back to basics. Coconut oil is one of three penetrating oil. It’s not a sealant. Use it before shampooing as a pre-poo and apply it before your leave-in conditioner. ACV can strip your color, you’re right about that. Deep conditioning weekly with a moisturizing deep conditioner will improve your hair’s porosity.

  8. Gabrielle says:

    I use a leave-in, then castor oil, and then the shea moisture curl and style milk for my LOC. I was looking at some other sites and they say that oil is the sealant and should be applied after the style milk. I’m so confused on what I should do.

    • You are right. Castor oil is a sealant and if you choose to use it, it should be used last. Try one of the oils mentioned above after your leave-in conditioner instead

  9. I refer to this post often. I’m only 6 weeks post BC and I’m still trying to get my routine down. Thanks so much for the info✌️

  10. Question! I use (1)water (2) coconut oil mixed with castor oil and pure shae butter. Will that be ok or is it best to do it differently?

  11. I actually do it backwards and was worried that I was doing it wrong, but my hair responds well to doing it the way I do it, so I guess that’s all that matters. I also see some people use a cream AND a leave-in conditioner, and I was wondering what the difference is, if there is a difference. I personally wouldn’t want four ingredients in my hair and try to keep it to three min and max. Basically, I wet my hair in the shower. When I get out, I apply my Giovanni’s Weightless Leave-In conditioner, and then seal it all with Carrot Tea-Tree Oil therapy that I am currently using. This gets the job done, so I guess I don’t have anything to worry about, I was just curious, And actually, LOC doesn’t work for me unless I use the cream first, so LCO for me.

  12. I have very course hair that has been damaged and broken off after years of relaxes. I just recently went natural & I just need the right tips to get me on the right track to rock my natural hair. Please help!

  13. i have low porosity hair..how should I proceed please?can you advice? :o

  14. I currently use safflower and sometimes olive oil. Don’t want to waste them so can they be used with the LOC method. And how would you classify them.

  15. Thoughts on the following on wet hair:

    1) leave in + coconut oil + gel (the coconut oil seals in the moisture from the water and the leave in) or

    2) coconut oil + leave in + gel

    Thanks

    • The second one is best! ;-) Your hair is already wet, the coconut oil is sealing in the moisture from the water on your wet hair.

      • Dominique says:

        I though you said Coconut oil wasn’t a sealant because it’s one of the penetrative oils?

        • It is a penetrative oil. It works a little bit differently to seal in moisture (that’s why its not considered a sealant) by penetrating the hair and helping it to hold on to water molecules inside the hair. Coconut oil works from the inside while sealant work on the outside of hair.

  16. Can I use pink oil Moisturizer as my cream or Olive oil moisturizing hair lotion. would you recomend that?

    • I wouldn’t recommend Pink Oil Moisturizer because it has Mineral Oil in it, something that could be bad for your hair but if it works for you then go for it.

    • Adriana says:

      I use Pink Oil Moisturizer on my hair as a sealant/cream, after the avocado/coconut oil. But because it has mineral oil (an emollient & lubricant) in it, I shampoo weekly instead of co-washing in order to remove the residue it leaves deposited on the strands.

      As result I end up with a shiny and well moisturized hair. And I’ve not experienced dryness or residue buildup, guess thanks to the weekly shampooing.

  17. This was sooo helpful. I’m hair care challenged and I have a 5y/o lil girl with super thick hair and is having a hard time with moisturizing. I’ve been searching for weeks on where to start and I’m glad I found this, because in just a few steps it answered most of what I’ve been searching for.

  18. Can i sleep with a shower cap to help lock in my moisture?

    • No, I wouldn’t just because there is a such thing as over moisturizing. You need to allow the hair time to dry completely to keep it from becoming protein deficient

  19. This would be my first time using this method. Please advise if these steps are correct:

    1. Water
    2. Coconut oil
    3. Castor Oil

  20. Joyce Brown says:

    Should I use products that have petroleum jelly in them on my black hair.

  21. Is the coconut oil in the hair section ok or can I use the pure coconut oil that is ok for cooking? Also, I read that the coconut oil should be heated just until liquid before applying. Do you agree?

    • Pure coconut oil is best. You don’t have to heat it. It melts when you rub your hands together. It works best when you mist the hair with water.

  22. So is this a daily routine? I have been creamy crack free for 3 years and I’m just now learning about natural hair care. And what are some good leave in conditioners I’m a 4b/4c I think

  23. This site is very informative and helpful to me (and my hair). You know I really like the L.O.C. method even though it’s been hit or miss with me over the years. I didn’t know that the oil portion of the method should be a penetrating one as the ones you’ve mentioned. It makes sense as they are able to get deep into the hair shaft similar to water and increase the chances of keeping the hair hydrated. I just tested this out on a section of my hair using avocado oil. I’ll see how it feels in the morning. Hopefully by tweeking things the L.O.C. method will be more of a hit than a miss. We’ll see…fingers crossed! =)

  24. I have been doing a LCO for my daughters, but I have trouble with frizz, I’m going to try the LOC instead. I usually use kinky curly knot today leave in (after washing/cowashing) to comb their hair and once detangled, apply coconut oil and sometimes a styling cream/gel to hold their style. Do you think simply swapping that step will work, I really like the knot today,but will it act as a sealant? Can I oil, cream then comb? Thanks!!

    • As Tamara said, the LOC method is best for moisturizing your hair.

      To prevent frizz you have to make sure each step is done properly. Don’t just lay the products on but rake it through to ensure each strand is coated. Your Knot Today is perfect for the L part. Follow up with your favorite oil then top it off with a moisturizing cream that’s a bit thicker. If you don’t have to use gel on your daughter’s hair then don’t. That might be contributing to the frizziness. There are lots of creams that have good hold that does not leave your hair crunchy or fizzy. My favorite is Taliah Wajid Curl Cream.

      This article explained the LOC method perfectly. However if you want to check out my explanation of the method then you can check out my blog.
      http://www.glamnaturallife.com/2013/03/moisturize-natural-hair-using-loc-method.html

    • Yes, it will act as a sealant. Leave-in conditioners are formulated to seal the hair cuticle. Yes, you can oil, cream then comb.

  25. How much oil do you use? Seems like it might be easy to have an oil slick style!

  26. I have really dry hair and I would like to try this method but I am not sure how this is suppose to be done.. Do I wash the hair, then add a leave in conditioner and then an oil and then I how do you dry the hair?

    • The steps are LOC. After shampooing your hair you add your oil to already wet hair. The best oils are olive, coconut and avocado. Then add your cream or sealing product. You mentioned a leave in conditioner and that’s perfect. Dry your hair like you regularly would. The LOC method is more of a guideline as to what order to apply your products for best results.

  27. Stacey willie says:

    My hair is in very poor condition, it is dry and brittle . I’m going to start the LOC method today. Can you recommend a good leave in conditioner I can use?

  28. Samantha says:

    You said that you use your leave in conditioner as your cream, does it matter what kind of leave in conditioner you use, as far as the ingredients are concerned?

    • No, not regular leave in conditioners are formulated to seal in moisture by closing the hair cuticle.

      • Samantha says:

        Ok thank you. I’m going to try this method on my niece’s hair and wanted to make sure as I have a regular leave-in conditioner at home, but I also have Kids organics Gro strong, but I am not sure if that would work as C.

  29. I have high porosity very fine hair. I found this method last night and decided to try it today. I was using a method, i thought was sealing my hair; but, I was layering my products slightly different (LCO). So, tonight i tried the LOC method, adding a few other products into the steps: aloe vera & curl activator spray. My question is –when using aloe vera juice to close cuticles, where does it fit in the steps of the LOC method? Also, when using a liquid that contain oils and glycerine (such as the activator spray), where would it fit in the method? Would it be considered an L or an O? Because it is a liquid i included it in the L step, but am unsure if the oil & glycerine would make it better suited for the O step. I lose moisture from my hair very easily and can use any help you can offer! Help!!!

    • My hair is also fine with high porosity. I tend to do LCO. I don’t use coconut oil as my daily hair strand oil. I use coconut oil in my deep moisture conditioner. Aloe vera (90 to 100 %) and water are for moisture i.e. what I think is the liquid part. I’m not sure of its ability to close/lay flat the cuticles. It depends what is in your curl activator and how high up the ingredient list it is. Anything below number 5 on the ingredient list will not have a massive impact on your hair unless you are allergic or it builds up (for months) without shampoo and/or clarifying.Glycerin is a humectant i.e. it draws moisture from the air/atmosphere to the hair strand. Natural pure 100 % plant oils tend to be lubricators, smoothers, sealers, conditioners, softeners and emollients. It depends on the oil you are using or the one that is contained in you curl activator spray. So although you can spray your curl activator and it is in liquid form it is not a liquid under the LOC method definition. My sister introduced me to the LOC method (She aiming for MBL and is almost at BSL) and since I’ve been doing it is has improved my hair even in the depths of winter. Where I was going wrong was using one product to provide all of the LOC components instead of have 3 main products. So currently I use rosewater and glycerin spray daily (twice). Those are the only two ingredients. Then I use a leave in conditioner which has a creamy texture usually has many ingredients but one of the top five has to be a strong hair conditioning agent like Behen. Methosulfate or Cet. Alcohol. Finally I add a bit of shea butter just after my weekly co-wash or jojoba on a daily basis. I put tea tree mixed with olive oil on my scalp twice a week. More if it is dry or itchy. I have found that no moisture ever escapes my pure shea butter and it also keeps my hair really soft (strong conditioning and emollient properties). Oh and I do wear a lot of protective styles, meaning I only tend to manipulate my hair once or twice a week at most and my hair agrees with wearing braids for 3 months at a time as long as I wash and condition on a regular basis also. Keep experimenting and get the book Science of Black hair! Do you!

  30. I mix my oil wuth my creme when I put in my hair….am I doing this wrong?

  31. Do you just wet your hair and do this method or is it like a Pre-wash or you can do it anytime?

  32. Thank you for clarifying this method. I too, read The Science of black hair. I love it and refer to it often it has helped me get my low porous hair in check. I found that it was most beneficial for me to combine my conditioner with the castor oil. Combining the two made it very emollient, more effective, plus it saved me a step and it was not as greasy! if you haven’t already please read her other book “Hair Rehab” it’s for every type of hair!

  33. Delores Glover says:

    During the warm months, I use Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Shampoo and I leave in the conditioner. I grease my scalp and add oil to each of my twists. During the colder months, I do the same think except i rinse out the conditioner and I use Organics hair pudding and then some oil, usually argon or olive. In the colder months I also grease my scalp and I apply activator gel and oil to my hair once a week. During the warmer months, I only grease my scalp when I wash (usually once a month) and I oil my hair every 1 to 1 1/2 weeks.

  34. I’m also an LCO gal. I use water, then my Neutrogena leave-in, then seal with an oil.

  35. Kris Napier says:

    Is Almond Oil as effective as grape seed, castor or jojoba oils?

  36. Some days LOC work, other days I find myself doing it LCO…my hair be cray cray lol

  37. Hi ,

    I do you the loc method. Only I do the L.O.L.C.B . it really does wonders for my hair. I have been doing this method for quite some time. And I love it. L= LIQUID, O-OIL, L-LEAVE IN, C-CREAM, B-BUTTER.

    I normally I listen to my hair and may skip a step if needed but for the most part I stick to the plan. Thanks for asking, Take care

    • Dreen girl says:

      Hi, In regards to the LOC method. I wanted to know if I can use two different leave in conditioners in my hair. One leave in is all Liquid, Oil and then cream leave in. What do you think of me using two different types leave in for my LOC method.
      Thanks

      • If it works go for it. But you don’t really need two products that do the same thing.

        • Dreen girl says:

          Thanks for getting back to me. I didn’t think so about two leave in. I’ll planning to use Aloe vera as my liquid, oil (Coconut and Castor as my oils) and a cream (Giovanni, Shea moisture ehancing smoothie or shea moisture restorative conditioner. I’ll let you know how it works. Can wait to take out my protective style. Thanks

  38. Transitiongirl25 says:

    The LOC method does not seem to work for my hair. I have highly porous hair and I find that when my hair is wry, it is best to use some cream or butter in my hair first then add my favorite or oils, castor and coconut.

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