The LOC method, also known as the liquid, oil, cream method, is the best way to keep natural or relaxed hair moisturized. Lack of moisture can cause breakage, dry/brittle hair, and frizz.
Using the LOC after every wash will reduce damage, increase elasticity, and improve the overall feel and look of your hair. Keeping your hair moisturized is also crucial for hair growth.
What is the LOC Method?
The LOC method consists of three products: liquid, an oil of your choosing, and cream that works together to ensure that your moisture is locked in until your next wash day.
The liquid opens up the hair cuticles to allow the moisture to enter your hair strands. Once your cuticles are open, the oil is able to penetrate your hair shafts. This enables hair to become softer and shiner while aiding in moisture retention.
Lastly, the cream locks in the moisture of the oil so your hair will be moisturized for a longer period of time, so you won’t have to do the LOC method every day.
The LOC method can be done at night or in the morning, depending on what you prefer. If you do it at night, your hair will not be as oily in the morning if walking around with oily hair concerns you.
You will begin the LOC method by applying a liquid, such as water, aloe vera juice, or leave in conditioner. Any leave in that you use should be water-based, meaning that the first ingredient on the list is water.
It is best to part your hair into 4-8 sections and apply the liquid to each section then comb each for equal distribution.
LOC Method Products
There are a lot of LOC method products out there and finding the ones that your hair likes the best is a matter of trial and error. However, by understanding your hair and its needs, you can have a better idea of what to look for. Many times, you can use the products you already have on hand.
Because the LOC method is a technique of layering products, there’s a good chance you won’t have to spend any money. You can also add your own ingredients to create a custom blend of products for your hair. Adding a touch of oil to a leave-in conditioner, for instance, and diluting a heavy conditioner are examples of how to get the most out of the products you already own.
Purchasing samples are also an excellent and inexpensive way to test which LOC method products might work for you.
Best liquid/leave-in conditioners
DIY Leave-in Conditioners
It’s important to remember that when trying to find the perfect leave-in conditioner that it is a trial and error process, it may take multiple times to find the perfect conditioner for your hair or you may find it easier to make it yourself. Here are some of the best DIY leave-in conditioners:
Coconut leave-in conditioner
Just mix them all together and apply to your damp hair!
Shea Coconut conditioner
Just mix and apply!
Whether you decide to go with a leave-in conditioner, hair oil, or a heat protectant, be sure you’re using at least one of these products when blow-drying your hair.(1)
Next, apply a small amount of Butta Butta Cream to your hair. Do this by sectioning hair into 4-8 sections and combing it through for even application.
Different types of oils can be used for various levels of porosity, and some people may choose not to use any oil at all depending on the natural amount their hair produces or the amount of oil that may already be in your leave-in.
How do I test my hair porosity for the LOC Method?
To check the level of porosity your hair has, you can place a clean strand in a cup of room temperature water, wait 5 minutes, and if it floats then your hair has a low porosity level and if it sinks it has a high level of porosity. This test does not always work because of different products that may be in your hair. Another way to tell is if you know how long your hair usually takes to dry.
High porosity hair dries much faster than low porosity hair.If you find that only one type of oil does not do enough for your hair, you can mix oils to get the benefits from multiple kinds. The amount of oil you use in your hair may also depend on your hair type because 4c hair hair tends to be more dry and brittle than 3c hair.
Below is how to find your hair type and which oil you may use depending on your level of porosity:
Porosity can be caused by cosmetic treatment, race differences, or bad preservation of hair.(2)
Different oils for each porosity
Finally, apply a creamy moisturizer to seal in the moisture. Styling creams will help define your curls and keep them from falling throughout the day. Some people may need additional holding products to help hold and define their curls, and some may need fewer products to keep their curls from being weighed down.
Unfortunately, sometimes our schedules can be pretty hectic. So if you don’t have time in your routine every day or week to do the L.O.C you can get a spray bottle and combine water, your favorite leave-in conditioner, and oil, to make your own L.O.C moisturizing spray. This is great if you have braids for the summer.
Just mix it in the bottle and spray your hair in the morning. You can also carry around a travel size bottle to spray your hair throughout the day if it frequently gets dry or frizzy due to heat or humidity during the summer or the dry air during the winter.
No matter if you do the LOC method any other variation of this method you should start to see results. Your hair will feel softer, look shinier, and have less shedding.
Within a few weeks or months, your amount of hair growth should improve after doing the LOC method. If you find that your hair lacks elasticity and is still breaking off, you may need a protein treatment to balance out all the moisture that the LOC method provides.
LOC Method Products for Different Hair Types
LOC Method Products for 3a Hair
When selecting LOC method products for 3a hair, look for ingredients that are lighter in weight and apply them sparingly. You can always add more if you need to. For the first step of your LOC method, try using a liquid leave-in conditioner instead of a heavy one in a jar. A liquid leave-in conditioner doesn’t weigh down your hair and allows your curls to stay bouncy. I would recommend Kinky Curly Knot Today. It smells great and is lightweight.
When it comes to using an oil, just a tiny bit of lightweight oil will usually be enough. A dime-sized amount spread on the hands and worked throughout the hair is all that’s needed to seal in moisture. Finish up with a touch of lightweight cream and that’s it. Scrunch your hair and allow it to air dry before fluffing or separating the curls. Doing this helps to avoid frizz.
There are a lot of videos showing ladies scooping up handfuls of products and applying them to their hair. Keep in mind that this is they way that works for their hair. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best approach for yours. By starting off with lightweight products and small amounts, you can easily learn what works best for your hair.
LOC Method Products for 3b Hair
When using LOC method products for 3b hair, it’s still important to use lightweight products but preparing the hair by using a cleansing cream or moisturizing shampoo can make a difference in the results. These products add just enough moisture to the hair and allow the LOC method products to work to their full potential.
A liquid leave-in conditioner and lightweight oils like grapeseed oil or coconut oil are all excellent for 3b hair. They don’t leave an oily residue or weigh down the hair and are excellent in sealing in moisture. For the last step of your LOC method, products such as soufflés, styling creams or whipped butters all work very well on 3b hair, leaving it shiny and soft.
LOC Method Products for 3c Hair
LOC method products for 3c hair will vary slightly than for 3b hair in that slightly heavier products may be used. A liquid conditioner may not provide enough moisture to the hair so a creamy leave-in conditioner might work better.
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Grow Leave-In Conditioner has a nearly runny consistency but is thicker than a liquid leave-in. While it does have castor oil in it, its consistency prevents excessive build up. It can also be combined with a lightweight or medium weight oil like sweet almond or coconut.
Topping off your LOC method with a styling cream or butter will help keep your hair perfectly moisturized and healthy.
LOC Method Products for 4a Hair
Using LOC method products for 4a hair is a matter of finding the best combination of products and thicknesses that work for your hair. Start by cleansing your hair with a moisturizing shampoo and follow with a rinse-out moisturizing conditioner.
Because 4a hair tends to be a little resistant to absorbing moisture, try using a creamier leave-in conditioner. A medium weight oil like sweet almond oil, jojoba or castor will help seal in that moisture and help prevent it from evaporating. Follow with a creamy butter such as my homeade whipped Butta Butta Cream. If you notice after a few days that your hair is becoming dry, add a little more butter and finish with a light layer of oil.
If you find that your hair is still becoming dry in between washes, you can add another layer of oil after the cream to seal that in. This would make this method of moisturizing the LOCO method.
LOC Method Products for 4b Hair
When it comes to LOC method products for 4b hair, thicker products tend to be used more. Many ladies pre-poo with oil to prevent the hair from being stripped when washing. Co-washing is also another way to cleanse the hair and scalp without losing essential moisture.
Thicker and creamier leave-in conditioners can contain more oils which help to seal in needed moisture, even before adding the second step of the LOC method. It’s important to remember that leave-in conditioner works best when applied to damp hair. Some people even apply it to wet hair. It depends on how well your hair responds.
Heavier oils tend to work better, especially if your hair is thick and coarse. Thicker creams and butters are ideal for the 4b girl, making it manageable and easier to detangle and style.
LOC Method Products for 4c Hair
LOC method products for 4c hair usually need to be a bit heavier. This is because the hair tends to have difficulty retaining moisture. Using a creamier leave in conditioner with a little oil added can many times be just what your hair needs. If you don’t want to mix a little oil into your leave in conditioner, you can opt for a slightly heavier oil like castor oil, Argan oil or olive oil.
For the last step of your LOC method of moisturizing, try a shea butter or a creamy product that has oil added. Many people with 4c hair choose to prepare their hair for the LOC method by pre-pooing or co-washing their hair to avoid losing moisture and to keep their hair manageable.
How Often Do You Need to Do the LOC Method?
One question that gets asked a lot is, “How often do you need to do the LOC method?” While the LOC method is safe to use every day, it really depends on the number of products you use in your hair. Using a lot of products too frequently can weigh down your hair and create product build-up. However, most people do need to add a little moisture between wash days.
To touch up your LOC method, spray a little water or watered down leave-in conditioner into the hair and add a tiny bit of oil to seal in the moisture. On wash day, use a clarifying shampoo and your favorite rinse out conditioner to give your hair a clean slate and prepare it for your favorite LOC method products.
Low Porosity, Transitioning or Relaxed Hair?
LOC Method for Low Porosity Hair
Using the LOC method for low porosity hair has a lot of benefits. There are, however, a few other recommendations to get the best results. Low porosity hair is when the hair cuticle is very tightly bound. This makes it difficult for moisturizers to penetrate the hair and takes longer for them to be absorbed. To prepare the hair, try heating up the water or leave-in conditioner before applying. Doing this opens the cuticle and makes the hair more receptive to absorbing moisture and nutrients.
Many people with low porosity hair reverse the last two steps of the LOC method and instead make adding cream as a second step. Then they follow with oil. This is called the LCO method. This technique gives hair more time to absorb the conditioner. Adding oil last seals in the moisture. The combination of heat and reversing steps can maximize the benefits of this method of moisturizing.
LOC Method for Transitioning Hair
Using the LOC method for transitioning hair is an excellent moisturizing regimen. The needs of both the relaxed hair and the new growth will be treated. Many times, the same products can be used throughout the hair despite the contrasting textures. If, however, you notice that either texture requires extra moisturizing, you’ll need to add a little more product to that specific area.
You can even use a product formulated for that part of the hair. This may take a little more time, but keep in mind that it only needs to be done until your hair is all natural.
LOC Method for Relaxed Hair
When it comes to using the LOC method for relaxed hair, it’s important to focus on the first step of the process which is the leave-in conditioner. The leave-in conditioner should be applied to clean and damp hair. This can be done right after washing the hair or by lightly spraying the hair with water. Try not to apply the other products in the LOC method too liberally. Doing so can leave your hair limp and lifeless.
It’s best to start out lightly and see how your hair responds. If your hair becomes dry, you can always touch it up by repeating the LOC method or by reapplying the cream. On wash day, a gentle shampoo and moisturizing rinse-out conditioner help set the stage for your LOC method.
By: Patrina Haupt
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.