Liquid. Oil. Cream. A Natural’s recipe for long-lasting, moisturized hair. Or is it? Ultimately the only cure for dry, parched, afro-textured hair is water. But, water eventually dries or evaporates. That’s where sealing comes in. The L.O.C. method is a process of sealing the hair that can be quite effective. But what if you’ve tried it and it didn't work? What if you’ve meticulously followed the steps, but find that your hair is still as dry as it was before you attempted to seal in the moisture? Keep reading.
How the L.O.C. Method Works
Liquid (water) is used to hydrate the hair. This is usually accomplished when you wash your hair. After washing your hair and rinsing it free of shampoo and/or conditioner, water remains.
As I mentioned, if water is not sealed into the hair shaft it will dry/evaporate. Even when water is sealed into the hair shaft, it will dry/evaporate... it just takes a little longer. That’s where the next step in the process becomes critical.
Oil is the all important second step. I love Jojoba oil because it’s a lightweight oil that is great for use on fine hair like mine. If your hair is more coarse or thicker in density, a heavier oil like olive or castor oil may be your go-to.
Some naturals opt to use coconut oil as their sealant, but I don’t recommend it. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Therefore, if you apply coconut oil to your hair and the temperature drops, it can cause your hair to feel dry and crunchy. It can also appear white in your hair depending upon how much you have applied. In my experience, coconut oil is best used as part of a pre-poo (pre-shampoo) regimen.
Cream is the final step after applying an oil to your hair. Creams are heavier in weight than oils and provide a solid base for helping to keep the moisture sealed in to your hair. They provide emollience, extra moisture and slip too!
In the summer months, I skip the cream portion of the L.O.C. method. I find that it’s not necessary for my fine hair. Simply sealing with an oil is sufficient for me. You may find that’s not the case so you need to do discover what works for your hair.
Troubleshooting Failure of the L.O.C. Method
Here are some ways to help you troubleshoot why the L.O.C. method appears not to be working for your hair:
It's actually LLOCAre you using a leave in conditioner before starting the sealing process? If you’re not using a leave in conditioner before applying your oil, that could be the culprit. The L.O.C. method should really be termed the L.L.O.C method because after water (liquid), you should be applying a leave in conditioner. A leave in will help protect your hair, keep it detangled, and make it more manageable.
Tweak your productsTry a different leave in conditioner, oil, or cream. You may need to try a number of products in combination to find YOUR “holy grail” of products for the L.O.C. method. Experiment by using a lighter cream and a heavier oil, and then try the reverse. You may discover one or the other is not needed each time and the cream or oil is more effective when used alone.
Check your labelsCheck out the ingredients in the products you are using. Certain alcohols will contribute to the drying out of your hair (ex: Isopropyl ethanol). Make sure there are no sulfates hidden in your leave-in conditioner.
L.C.O.Change the order of L.O.C. method to L.C.O. It can’t hurt. L.C.O. has worked successfully for many curly haired women.
Customize for the seasonBe willing to switch up the products you use to seal your hair as the seasons change.
Clarify!Build-up can make you think that nothing is working. Grab a clarifying shampoo and start anew with a blank slate.
The question isn’t, “Is the L.O.C . method effective?” The question is, “Are you customizing it to suit your hair?”