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DevaCurl's guide to the LOC hair method

So you’re looking in the mirror again at a headful of dry hair and wondering just how to make the moisture stick. After all, you condition in the shower like you should! What else is there to do? That’s where the LOC method comes in. It’s a way to moisturize your curls… no, it’s THE way to moisturize your curls. And we’ve put together your go-to guide on the LOC hair method.

 

What IS the LOC hair method?

Let’s start with the basics; LOC stands for leave-in (or liquid), oil, cream. You apply (in order!) a water-based product—probably a leave-in conditioner—to hydrate, an oil to seal, and a cream that will close off the cuticle to help your curls retain moisture.

So how is it different from other care routines? The product layering is what reigns in the LOC method for natural hair. The specific liquid-oil-cream order hydrates and double-seals to help keep moisture in. Plus, the extra moisture also helps protect against frizz and breakage, along with improving the overall look and feel of your hair. You simply use it as often as you would normally do a wash-and-go (so ranging from every few days to a week plus).

 
curly girl in shower with hands in hair

The general LOC method for curly hair

Who can use the LOC hair method? Well the good news is, pretty much anyone. We’ll be running through some tweaks later that may work with different hair types, but you can use LOC regardless of texture, density, curl pattern, or even whether or not your hair has been chemically treated. The best part of the LOC method is that you probably own all of the necessary products already. We’ll just be switching up the order you put them on your hair. Once you’ve washed and conditioned your hair normally, here’s the rundown:

 

Leave-in/liquid

The obvious first step for getting moisture into your hair is adding a liquid. We recommend Leave-In Decadence for particularly dry curls, but some curlies have success using a water/conditioner mixture or even just water, whether from the shower or spraying from a spray bottle between wash days. Section out your hair and make sure to get your whole head, from root to tip, paying special attention to your ends. Liquid goes on your hair first to get the hydration your hair needs.

 

Oil

Hair oil is next. You may want to switch up your hair oil depending on your hair’s needs, but the basic choices are coconut, jojoba and grapeseed oil. Apply a thin layer of oil to your hair by spraying or pouring it into your palms, and then use “prayer hands” to apply it to your curls and pull it through your ends. This starts the process of sealing the moisture in.

 

Cream

Last but not least, find a cream- or butter-based product to create the final seal. It helps if this product doubles as a moisturizer itself, which is why we recommend Heaven in Hair to add some extra conditioning power into your routine. Sandwich your hair between product-laden palms (“prayer-hands” like with the oil), to fully apply and help seal the moisture in. This product can often double as a styler, but feel free to layer in stylers like SuperCream or Light Defining Gel if you need more hold.

 
 
 

Using the LOC method for high porosity hair

The LOC hair method works amazingly for high porosity hair. The oil and cream sealing layers help correct the usual problems of both losing moisture left, right, and center AND over-hydrating in the shower, weakening the hair’s structure with swelling.

 

LOC method for low porosity hair 101

This is a bit of a misnomer, since the first recommendation for low porosity hair is actually switching up the order and going LCO. By applying the cream before the oil, some will absorb into the hair, while the rest will mix with the oil to form a stronger protective barrier. If your oil starts weighing down your strands, try argan, avocado, camellia, or watermelon seed oil for a light oil that still helps provide protection.

 
curly girl running her hands through wet hair

Switching it up for your hair

There are plenty of ways that curlfriends have tweaked the LOC method to suit their hair’s needs. If you’re running into problems with trying out the regular LOC hair method, try some of these curl care edits to tailor your routine. Just remember to give each method more than one chance before deciding it doesn’t work.

 

My hair’s getting weighed down

Wavies or fine-haired curlies especially may find their hair getting weighed down by product. First, make sure to avoid buildup by using Buildup Buster and cut back on the stylers for less buildup in the future. If you’re still not getting that weightless look, try eliminating either the O or the C for a lighter treatment.

If your hair is dry enough that you need the whole LOC method to get hydrated, protective styles can really help out. Apply the LOC products as above, then stick your hair in braids, buns, twists, or bantu knots until you’re ready to head out.

 

I need more moisture!

Super curlies usually need as much hydration as possible. If this problem sounds familiar to you, try using the ultra-hydrating Melt Into Moisture for your cream step.

Alternatively, if you find your hair losing moisture just as quickly as before, you may want to try the low-porosity trick of switching the order. LCO may be just the thing to keep the hydration right where you want it.

Have you experimented with the LOC method before, or are you just trying it out for the first time? Let us know your experience in the comments below!