Natural Hair LOC Method Guide
What’s the LOC Method? LOC method is one of the tried and true tools to help natural hair retain moisture for days. The name is built as an acronym from its basic components: Leave-in, Oil, and Cream. The goal of this method is to maximize the benefits of applied emollients and sealants so that they act in sync to provide extended hydration and lasting hairstyles. Whether applied on relaxed, transitioning or natural hair, the principles of the LOC method are a great start-up routine to healthy hair.
In case you’re here to learn the basics, refining or troubleshooting your conditioning efforts, learn the best tips and products for a time-saving hair care routine.
1Why Use The LOC Method
There are several reasons why you want to reinforce moisture in your strands after shampoo and regular o deep conditioning.
- Weather: Dry and polluted air will suck up any moisture from your hair like an invisible enemy. Cold temperatures are usually the worst for your hair, as water gets easily drawn up and away. Humid weather, on the other hand, can keep your hair cuticles perpetually open, making it harder for it to stay frizz-free.
- Styling: The use of heat tools, braiding, twisting and hair extensions can cause various levels of damage to your hair. Heat being damned as the worst of them as the whole success of blow-drying, curl or flat ironing is to dry hair in the least time possible.
- Braiding and hair extensions on the other hand, minimize manipulation and breakage but can also draw up moisture fast.
- Friction: Most clothing and bedding fabrics absorb a lot of moisture from the hair. Cotton, wool, linen and most synthetics can also individually trap and pull hair strands causing added damage.
Think of the LOC method as a hair guard that’s shielding your hair strands from all these outer foes. The more detailed and successful you are at creating this shield, the healthier your hair will be.
2How To Moisturize Hair With The LOC Method
So, we got three main components, and we can build up (or even down, stay tuned for that) from them to create the perfect LOC Method. If it’s your first time attempting it, we recommend you start off with fresh clean hair, even better if you use a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup from past styling. We’ll also leave some tips for emergency curlies looking to bring their styles back to life.
- Leave-in: The keyword of your leave-in is water-based. If your hair is damp from washing, you can go straight ahead to applying you leave-in conditioner or, if you fancy DIY / natural products, aloe vera juice will work just as well. Work in sections applying your product to the ends of your hair and working your way up.
- Oil: Your layer of moisture will be sealed by a single or combination of natural oils. Oils fill up the hair cuticle and add flexibility and shine to it. Working with a few drops at the time, cover your hair sections and massage or apply a full swipe motion to ensure coverage.
- Cream: The second sealant is a butter-based product. You can also apply it with a swipe motion to cover your strands from roots to ends. In this step, women with curly hair can choose product that combines defining properties, while those preparing to use heat can select a heat protectant.
3When To Use The LOC Method
One of our most frequently asked questions is how often should this method be employed. For starters, LOC Method should be done every time you do a fresh hair wash or are prepping your hair for styling.
LOC Method is quite popular amongst curlies as it can extend the life of most no-heat styles such as wash-and-go’s, twist-outs and braid-outs. Depending on your hair’s health and especially weather conditions, you can do a simplified LOC routine every three to four days.
4Hair Porosity And Oils For The LOC Method
One of the controversial elements of the LOC Method is oil. Women are wary of applying oil to their hair over fear of weighing it down or creating extra slipperiness that makes the hair look lifeless. An antidote to this fear is examining hair porosity. Hair porosity refers to the physical characteristic of the hairs strands, where high porosity is open, large cuticles, and low porosity is closed up, tiny openings along the hair shaft.
High porosity hair will dry up faster and lose moisture more quickly, while low porosity hair will stay damp and will have a harder time absorbing product, hence the dreaded greasy look.
5Know Your Hair Type
To test which type of hair porosity you have, set a single strand of your dry and freshly washed hair (no product) on a clear glass of room temperature water. After five minutes or so, the strand will have absorbed moisture and sunk (hence, high porosity) or remain floating, which will welcome you to the low porosity tribe.
With this valuable information, you can select your oils accordingly: high porosity hair will benefit from heavier oils such as castor and olive oil, while low porosity will thrive on lighter oils like argan, avocado, and grape seed oil.
6Tips And Tweaks For The LOC Method
You can improve your results by paying attention to the way your hair reacts to each layer of product, so keep these tips in mind:
- Pay attention to the quantities you use: The goal is always to coat your hair evenly, however, depending on porosity and weather conditions, the saturation point can be reached further or sooner along the way. If applying the method prior to protective styling- i.e.braids-, test using different product amounts on each side of your head and assess how they feel when you take them down.
- Who doesn’t love a shortcut? You can reduce your LOC times by combining your leave-in with some water and a lightweight oil. You can keep this in the fridge and use it to freshen up your style throughout the week.
- Switch it up: If after a few weeks your hair still feels dry and looks dull, try swapping your oils and cream to an L – C – O order. Applying the oil as the last step can work better for retaining moisture in certain hair types.
- Do it at night. The LOC Method can be part of your night routine. Before wrapping your hair apply a little moisture and seal with oil. Letting the product sit overnight will reduce the risk of grease looking hair in the morning and will also save you some precious time!
7Best Products For The Loc Method
Truth is you probably have the basics for a successful LOC Method already sitting in your cabinet, but we won’t judge if you’re ready to start over with a new set of tried and true hair products to take your tresses to the next level.
- When shopping for leave-ins look for water base with a lighter consistency. Ingredients like aloe vera juice, fatty alcohols and a dash of protein pretty much roundup a good leave-in. We like Giovanni cosmetics Eco Chic Direct Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk and Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner that also doubles and a detangler and is a great aid for curl definition.
- For oils look at organic or the purest type you can afford. Avoid oil mixes that have too many ingredients, you’re looking for just an oil extract and maybe a preservative. If you are still on the lookout for the perfect oil, we recommend you try Now Foods Variety Moisturizing Oils Sampler, it has sample sizes of Sweet Almond, Avocado, and Jojoba Oils that can last a lot. A true crowd’s favorite is Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil, keep an eye on your porosity and the amount you use for optimal results.
- Creams are preferably butter based, they offer a thicker consistency and are able to penetrate the hair shaft faster due to their chemical layout. Creams are responsible for the volume level and body of your hair. We love a cream that can assist with heat protection, sunscreen or curl definition. Check out Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding, 8 Ounce with a crazy good smell and puffier consistency. Also, DevaCurl Styling Cream will provide added hold and work wonders on a lighter curl pattern.
8DIY Alternatives For LOC Method
You can customize your product roster as much as you like. Using natural or homemade products is a great option for minimizing the use of synthetic chemicals while saving a few bucks with multipurpose ingredients.
- Raw aloe vera juice works great as a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer when you are mid way through the week.
- Cold pressed coconut, avocado or flax seed oil can be bought by bulk and also have great properties for your health.
- Raw Shea butter is also a great DIY option for hair cream. You can pair it with homemade flax seed gel and you won’t miss a beat of curl definition!