LOC or LCO for Moisturizing Natural Hair

By Choya Randolph

For us naturals, wash day can take up the entire day. First we detangle, some of us prepooing when we detangle. Then we shampoo, which ironically tends to be the easier part of our time consuming routine. After, we apply our deep conditioner all throughout our hair and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. After washing that out, it’s time to moisturize. For the naturals who style their hair on wash day instead of throwing them in twists like the loveable lazy naturals, you have to comb your gel through your hair to get that maximum curl definition. That’s a lot of work to do in one day. Ending up with dry hair will feel like a big L. This is why moisturizing is important.

For most of us, moisturizing our hair is the last step but sometimes the step that takes the most time. This is the part where we detangle again and apply all of our products so we can lock in that hydration. Many of us use the LOC method to moisturize which stands for liquid, oil, and cream. 


First we apply water or a water-based product to our hair. This is when we put those leave-in conditioners to work. Then we add an oil of our choice. Last, we put in that cream. The purpose and order of this method is to provide the hair with maximum moisture. The water hydrates the follicle, the oil seals in that hydration and the cream closes the hair cuticles to prevent moisture loss. If the LOC method isn’t giving you the moisture you’re looking for, maybe it’s time to change the order of things.

Our hair has different ways of absorbing hydration. We can have low porosity or high porosity hair. Low porosity hair has tighter hair follicles which makes it harder for water to penetrate the hair. High porosity hair is the opposite and takes water very well. The LOC method is an OG method that is super effective. However, if you have low porosity hair, the LCO method may work best for you. The LCO method switches the order around. First you apply your water or water-based product, then your cream and seal it in with your oil. 

Because low porosity hair can be stubborn at absorbing anything, it’s more likely to have product just sitting on it. Not only does this make your hair visibly dirty and sometimes flaky, this could be a waste of product and money. 

When moisturizing in general, your hair should be soaking wet. This allows for less product build up and makes it easier for your liquid and cream to penetrate your hair. Saving the oil for the last step works better for low porosity hair because it seals in the moisture. So if you’re low porosity, try out the LCO method and if you’re high porosity, continue with the LOC method.

Whether you have low porosity hair or high porosity hair, the LOC and LCO method will both work to moisturize your hair and retain length. When doing your hair, it’s smart to know the science of each method so it can be used to improve your hair and keep it hydrated. Experiment with both methods to understand your hair and what it reacts best to.