Water is the purest source of moisture for natural hair. As a natural, I know the fear of using water to avoid shrinkage but what’s important to know that by doing so, you are depriving your hair of what it needs to flourish and grow. Water quenches our hair strands and goes deep into the hair cuticles to nourish from the inside out, providing the hair the basic foundation for hair health. Knowing how to moisturize natural hair is one of the most important elements in the natural hair care journey.
When looking for products to moisturize natural hair, the golden rule is to always look for products such as creams, leave-ins and hair milks, with water listed as the first ingredient. Generally, coily and curly hair textures are dry and lack moisture because the natural oils produced by the scalp cannot travel down the hair strands with ease. As a result, natural hair needs to be replenished regularly to maintain adequate moisture levels.
If you are struggling with dry hair and having a hard time retaining moisture, here is a method that will not only teach your how to moisturize your natural hair but help to improve elasticity and make regular maintenance less stressful. With regular usage of the LOC method, you will see a difference in the overall look and feel of your hair.
The LOC/LCO Method
You may or may not have heard of this method but it is a staple in the natural hair community because it works, simply put. The technique involves three basic steps to adding moisture and sealing it in. Depending on your preference, the oil and cream can be used interchangeably but I find that for my low porosity hair, the LCO method works best.
The “L” represents liquid which can be water or a water based leave-in conditioner. In my experience, water works very well for this step and you can achieve great results without using fancy leave-ins. For an added step and for those with low porosity hair, I recommend using warm water as the heat with help open up the hair cuticles thus allowing the water to be absorbed with ease.
Find an empty spray bottle and fill it with warm water and lightly spray the hair. You do not need to saturate your hair and leave it dripping wet, just use enough slightly damped the hair. A few sprits all around with a spray bottle is perfect. However if you do choose to use a leave-in conditioner for this step, the thinner the consistency, the better. Spray leave-ins work perfectly for this step.
By applying oil after water, you are sealing in the moisture (water) you have just applied thus slowing down the rate at which that water will escape. Oil should never be used alone on dry hair. By doing so, you are sealing in the dryness and creating a barrier thus any form of moisture applied afterwards will only sit on the surface of the strands as it is not able to penetrate the layer of oil.
For this step, you can use any hair oil of your choice. If you’re just starting out and you are still in the learning phase, I recommend using carrier oils such as extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, grape seed oil or a combination of them all. I like to use a mixture of equal parts olive oil and castor oil.
Applying a cream moisturizer, these are typically thicker creams or hair butters, helps to further moisturize and close the hair cuticle. The cream in this step can be used for styling and defining your curls. Some naturals choose to skip this step all together and are happy with simply implementing the LO method.
I choose to implement it because I have seen the best results in my hair by doing so. My hair is more manageable than it has EVER been and my natural curls are flourishing. If you’ve read any of my other blog and Instagram posts, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Garnier Whole Blends line for my natural hair care. I highly recommend any of their leave-in conditioners. I’ve included a few others below that work really well for this step.
The most important thing about the adapting these methods of moisture application and retention is not too focus or worry too much on the brand of products you’re using and finding the most expensive ones, rather implementing the foundation. To be successful in your natural hair journey, focusing on hair health is key.
The more you continue to listen to your hair and take the time to get to know what works for you, the more success you will find and the more fun you will have. I’ve broken down the basic natural hair care regimen in this post that will help your jumpstart your routine and be on your way to growing healthy, natural hair.