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If your curls absorb more water than a Sham Wow towel yet they're forever crying out for more moisture, then it may just be time to try out the LOC method. It has been abuzz on the natural hair forums for its ability to let curlies go days without having to remoisturize their curls.

What does LOC stand for?

LOC is an abbreviation for leave in conditioner, oil and cream.  The name itself signifies the products a curly should apply, as well as the order in which to apply them, making it an easy-to-remember curly routine.

LOC is an abbreviation for leave in conditioner, oil and cream.

What sets the LOC method apart from other methods is the layering of products in a specific order to maximize moisture retention. The layer of moisture is effectively sealed in by two products which are both known to be excellent sealants: oil and butter.

Both oil and butter are praised for their ability to create a layer along the hair shaft that helps to prevent water from being evaporated from it and lost to the atmosphere thus helping the hair to stay moisturized for longer. By using oil followed by a thicker, heavier butter-based moisturizer on top you are ensuring that as much moisture as possible remains on the hair shaft which is beneficial for curlies who struggle to maintain moisturized hair.

How to do the LOC method

The method is so easy to incorporate into your routine because it involves using products you probably already own and simply changing the order in which you apply them to your hair. If you would like to start using the LOC method then simply follow these easy steps below.

Step 1: Leave-in conditioner (or liquid)

L stands for leave-in or liquid, as both are used by curlies to provide the moisture that will be sealed in. We recommend applying a moisturizing, water-based, leave-in conditioner to cleansed hair.  Popular leave-ins in our community are SheaMoisture Curl and Style MilkCurl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing LotionCurl Junkie Beauticurls Leave In Hair ConditionerOyin Handmade Hair Dew and CURLS Curl Milkshake

Step 2: Oil

Next, apply a thin layer of oil to your hair to help lock in the moisture. The oil you apply will vary depending on the porosity of your hair. For a full list of oils divided by low, medium and high porosity click here. If you're unsure what your porosity is,  here for 3 methods for determining yours

Step 3: Cream

The final step is to apply a butter-based, creamy moisturizer to your hair to seal that moisture in. The cream can also provide your curls with definition and hold, so pick a styling cream that works for your hairstyle. If your curls require more hold than a creamy moisturizer can give, then feel free to finish up with your regular styling products to style your hair as normal. Some popular curl creams include MYHoneyChild Honey Hair CrèmeOyin Whipped PuddingQhemet Burdock Root Butter and Qhemet Amla and Olive Heavy Cream

For more on these product recommendations, read The Ultimate LOC Method Shopping List.

Who should do the LOC method?

The LOC method will work best for high porosity hair or hair that always feels dry. Many Type 4 coilies use it as our coils and kinks are typically very thirsty. However, keep in mind that porosity will play a major role in whether or not this method works for you.

No matter what your curl pattern is, if your hair is chemically processed or color treated then you likely have high porosity and struggle with moisture retention. If you are a low porosity curly and attempt this method you could run the risk of having hair that is limp and oily and experience a lot of product build up. If you try the LOC method and find that it weighs down your hair (for example if you have loose waves or fine hair) then you may want to layer the products and wear your hair in a bun or braid for the day or overnight.

Alternatives

As with all things curly hair related it’s all about trial and error so if your current routine isn’t quite cutting it then give this method a try and modify it to suit your needs.

  • Many women find success with switching up the order and doing an LCO method. If LOC doesn't work for you, give this a try.
  • If your curls are easily weighed down, or if you suffer from product build up you can limit the number of products you apply to your hair by applying a creamy or buttery product as your styler.
  • Also for curlies who are not strictly au naturel, you could swap out the oil for a silicone serum and replace the cream layer with grease which has since made a comeback in the natural haired community.

Make sure you try it out for at least two weeks or three wash sessions before deciding if it works.

Have you tried the LOC method?

This article was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

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