The LOC method in 4C hair is a technique of hydrating and sealing moisture in hair. LOC is an abbreviation for Liquid, Oil and Cream. It involves moisturizing the hair with water or a preferred water-based product which is your Liquid, sealing in the moisture with Oil and finally applying a Cream product to close the hair cuticle which stops or prevents moisture loss.
The aim of this method is to provide a systemmatic guide on how to apply your products to ensure your hair is moisturized and retains the moisture longer. It is one of the most effective ways to moisturize 4C hair when done with the right products and in the right order.
As a 4C natural, I have come to learn that taking care of my hair is a science. This means experimenting with different theories and techniques to find those that really work for my type of hair.
Before I discovered the LOC method, I was applying products haphazardly which did not yield the best results. LOC method has been extensively tried and tested to the extent that some brands have products that are developed specifically for each step of the LOC method.
This is why the LOC method works in 4C hair
Most women with natural hair have found success with this method, however am sure this is not enough to convince you that it really works, does it?
I will go into the science behind the LOC method to explain why it really works.
LOC method is different from other techniques because it takes careful consideration of how to layer products on your hair in a way that capitalizes on moisture retention.
The importance of using oil is that it creates a layer around the hair shaft that inhibits loss of water. This in turn aids in retaining moisture in your hair for longer periods.
Creams do the same job, but as the last step in the LOC method, they are intended to be the heaviest out of all the products. This last step ensures hair has retained as much hydration as it can on the hair shaft.
1. Water is Moisture
When it comes to moisturizing hair, water is fundamental. The purpose of using water as the liquid is to intensely moisturize and hydrate the hair. The issue is keeping in that moisture and this is where the other two components of the L.O.C. method comes into play.
2. Oil helps hair hold on to water molecules
But water doesn’t mix with oil? Yes, which is why you need to use oils that infiltrate the hair shaft very well.
If you aren’t using oils that infiltrate the hair its best to use your cream before your Oil i.e the L.C.O (Liquid, Cream, Oil) Method. On the other hand, certain natural oils have the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and bind with the hair internal structure or protein. These type of oils include Coconut, Olive, and Avocado oil. They help in the hair’s ability to hold on to water molecules.
3. Cream Locks in Moisture
The main purpose of the cream constituent is to seal or lock in moisture introduced from L & O.
The appropriate cream to use on your hair is debatable. Some people prefer to use their conditioner as creams, or their styling products, which is fine.
Numerous of these products do have ingredients that seal moisture. But it’s important that you use a moisturizing cream. Your cream at this point should seal the hair cuticle or act as a sealant.
Natural products that seal and coat the hair are perfect, as they are more likely to retain moisture, but still allow the hair to take in additional moisture in the case of rehydration between shampoos or co-washes.
If you suffer from excessive hair dryness or live in harsh winter climates, you can use natural butters like Shea as your cream for this step. You can also achieve the best results by sealing your ends with whipped Shea Butter and Aloe Vera Gel.
How To Effectively Apply Products on 4C Hair Using the LOC Method
Step 1: L- Liquid
The LOC Method is basically about effective product layering.
The first step in moisturizing your hair should always be to add moisture.
To get the maximum benefits, your liquid should always be water particularly during your wash routine.
But then again it’s ok to use a water-based product or spray water on the hair in between wash days. Meaning you can do it every day depending on how your hair is styled.
You can also use Vegetable Glycerin. It makes hair soft and helps it receive moisture better. Start by sectioning out your hair and re-wet it with water if it is completely dry using a spray bottle, proceed to section the hair and apply the glycerin..
You can also use a water-based leave-in conditioner for the L step in the method. Apply the Leave-in evenly throughout each section from root-to-tip, but make sure to pay more attention to the ends of your hair since these are the driest part of your hair. The amount of water and conditioner you should use will be determined by the length and thickness of your hair.
Step 2: O- Oil
The second step is oil application. The type of oil you use is very important. There are very many types of oils with a multitude of benefits. Some oils sit on the hair whereas others have the capability to absorb or penetrate into the inner structure of the hair.
Hair oils that are formulated with emulsifiers are the best for this step because this means the oil will mix with water and deliver moisture instead of remaining on top of the hair shaft like normal oils do. Hair porosity can play a factor in the type of oil you’ll need.
Step 3: Cream
When your hair is sufficiently conditioned and oiled, you are ready for the last step in the LOC method, which is using a creamy or butter-based moisturizer for sealing. For this last step, you will apply the amount you feel is most appropriate for your hair condition.
The end result should be hair that is hydrated, defined in texture, and can hold out for a couple of days. In other words, your hair should look good.
What To Do When The LOC Method Does Not Work
If you are struggling with the LOC method there are things you should keep in mind.
- You could be having product build-up: If your hair is dry after trying LOC Method, you may have product build-up. This means, you will need to shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove the product build-up before administering your products using the LOC method.
- You might be experiencing poor water quality: This depends on where you live, you might be in an area where you are forced to use hard water. The minerals in hard water interfere with the effectiveness of your hair products. You might need to purchase a water filter to soften the water.
- You are not using enough water: You risk missing out on essential moisture if you are not using leave-in conditioners that are water-based. Always remember to read the label on your leave-in to get an idea of how much water is in it. If water is not among the first five ingredients on the list, then your leave-in will not have a water content high enough to hydrate your dry hair. The safest bet is to use plain water as your liquid.
- Improper hair sectioning: Even though it might feel like you applied enough product to your hair, you might have missed some parts if you didn’t section well. Make sure you divide your hair into four sections and section those further if you have a lot of hair.
- Wearing the wrong style: Hair that is worn down looks pretty, but is also susceptible to moisture loss at a faster rate than hair that is worn in a protective style. Choose buns, braids, twists, wigs, and any other protective style your heart desires to get the most out of your LOC method.
How Hair Porosity Affects LOC Method in 4C Hair
Porosity is how hair absorbs and retains water molecules. There are three types of hair porosity; High, medium and low.
Low porosity strands
Low porosity hair requires more effort to allow moisture into the hair shaft, therefore the Liquid, Cream, Oil (LCO) method maybe a better option for low porosity hair. LCO works for this type of hair since once it is moisturized it retains moisture very well.
Once you apply a cream, it absorbs the water content from the hair product, leaving the rest to coat and seal its strands. Thereafter, when oil is applied, the two outermost layers will mix and form a thicker barrier to protect the strands.
LOC method can cause low porosity hair to be weighed down with product buildup. To prevent this, use lightweight oils opposed to thick, penetrating ones like coconut and olive oils. Jojoba and argan oils will coat the hair while still allowing strands to breathe. This article goes into the details of the best oils for Low Porosity Hair.
This type of hair absorbs and maintains moisture very well. It can use any type of moisturizing method.
High Porosity Hair
High porosity hairresponds favorably to layering creams and oils. When wet, it quickly takes in more liquid than it requires, which causes swelling and lifting of its scales. Once a cream is applied, it absorbs a lot of the product and leaves only a little to seal the cuticles. The correct type of oil will mix with the cream layer and create a lighter, flexible coating.
Using oil after a liquid can protect high porosity hair by sealing its cuticles and preventing hygral fatigue. This is damage that occurs from constant expansion and contracting of hair fibers. After oil penetration, a small amount of the oil is left to coat the hair. Once a cream is applied, what’s needed is absorbed and what’s left acts as a protective coating against environmental elements.
In conclusion, we should always remember that moisturized hair retains length, whilst dry hair breaks easily. The L.O.C. method is one of the best ways to moisturize and retain moisture. But it works differently on every hair type. It is important to know how to make it work for your hair in order to maximize moisture and keep hair as healthy as possible.
The LOC method is quiet easy to add to a hair routine since it requires products that you probably already have. All you really need to do is follow the order of application presented in the method. LOC method can be done in the morning or at night, depending on what you prefer.