sealing moisture in natural hair
Growth & Retention

Natural Hair: When the L.O.C Method Seems to Fail

the loc methodLiquid. Oil. Cream. A natural’s recipe for hair that stay’s moisturized. 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 and it is effective. There’s no doubt in my mind but what if you’ve tried it and it failed? What if you’ve followed the method to a tee but still find your hair 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. That’s where the next step in the process becomes critical.

Oil is the all important second source.  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 course or thicker in density, a heavier oil like olive  or castor oil may be more effective.

sealing moisture in natural hair

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 on 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 agent 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.

loc natural hair

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

Just like there’s a foolproof method to discover what products work for your skin, methods can also be used to determine what products work for your hair. Here are some additional ways to help you troubleshoot why the L.O.C. method appears not to be working for your hair:

  • Are 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 and make it more manageable.
  • Try 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.
  • Check out the ingredients in the products you are using. Certain alcohols will contribute to the drying out of your hair (ex: Isopropyl ethanol)
  • Change the order of L.O.C. method to L.C.O. It can’t hurt.
  • Experiment by using a lighter cream and a heavier oil (reverse). You may discover one or the other is not needed each time and the cream or oil is more effective when you used alone.
  • Be willing to switch up the products you use to seal your hair as the seasons change.

The question isn’t, “Is the L.O.C . method effective?” The question is, “Are you customizing it to suit your hair?”

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Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

19 Comment

  1. Hi Michelle. Your blog is so very appreciated! Would you please give me an idea of the amount of oil recommended for shorter, fine hair in the LOC method? Also, when oiling hair at night, how much is recommended then? I intend to mist my hair with a warm lavender spray and a little argan oil through the length, with some Jamaican Black Castor Oil on the ends. I have hair that is easily weighed down, so any tips are appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kat-

      There’s really no specific amount. I’d just put a few drops in my hand and scrunch the oil in. You don’t want to put too much since it can weigh your hair down. I think Argan oil is a great choice though. I’ve had the experience that it absorbs quite well into my hair. For the Jamaican Black Castor Oil, I’d restrict using it on the ends only when your hair is in twists or braids. If you are doing a curly style, I wouldn’t use it because you want the curls to be “light” and free flowing.

    1. Depends on yoru hair really. I have fine strands and avoid heavy butters in the summer but I love them in the winter. I currently use my own Shea butter mix for now and alternate with Jane Carter Nourish and Shine. Also, Wonder Curl’s Butter than Love Whipped is a great cream…not too heavy at all

  2. I am still figuring out what works for me as far as moisture methods go…

    I haven’t experienced the coconut oil drying on my hair when the temperature has dropped though…In fact, it’s the only oil that I’ve use consistently in the past 2 years with no negative side affects. As they say, every head is different 🙂

  3. I love this. I’ve been trying L.O.C. but I think I still need to find out with oil is best for me. Some days coconut oil works great, and then others it just doesn’t cut it. I did buy some castor oil, so I may try that closer to Autumn. For now, I’ll stick with olive oil since it seems safer. Thanks for all of the information.

  4. You often hear using a cream than an oil is better after the cream but for me using the oil before and after works good. I like to use Jamaican black castor oil as my sealant.

    Also Monoi Tiki Tahiti oil with coconut oil as the carrier is good for me to use before or after I add cream. I haven’t had the coconut oil turn solid or feel crunchy on my hair.

  5. I needed to read this. My hair is perennially dry, and it’s not for want of spraying water on it. I need to work out which oil is best for sealing. Thanks for the heads up, Michelle!

    1. The crown and ends seems to always be the driest part of the hair too so we need to give those areas more attention. Tru a number of oils. You’ll find one that agrees with your hair. Same goes for the creams.

  6. I don’t like this method. The oils and creams are too heavy (for me) and I don’t like how my hair feels. I use a leave in conditioner and mix jojoba oil into my conditioner. If I want hold I will use some gel, but other wise I’m basically done.

    1. now see your hair is similar to mine. I only use creams over the oil in the winter. That’s when the hair is most prone. Your oil in your conditioner is actually still sealing your hair. So you are using the method, just dropping the cream. However, if you find that your hair is getting dry, try a lighter cream. I find when I use Jojoba Oil and a little Shea Butter in the winter it’s perfect. In the summer though, it’s too heavy.

  7. This is very good article and you have a point. The L.O.C. method works great for me, but before I started using this method I tried it both way. L.C.O. and L.L.C.O. But over-all the original works for me in that order. The oil locks in the liquid and the cream moisturizes my hair perfectly. All hair is different and sometimes you do have to see what works for you. Just because it works for some doesn’t mean it will work for all. After a few trial and errors hopefully one can figure out what works well for them

  8. Yes, the LOC method is effective and works perfect for me- to a tee in the original order. My 4ish hair likes heavier oils, doesn’t like coconut oil at all, heavier creams work wonders to help keep my curls/twists looking great. It was definitey a learning process- it took a good year to figure what does/doesn’t work.

    1. I notice that type 4ish hairs fair very well with the added creams. It seem the looser the curl pattern, the less that’s needed to keep the hair moisturized. That’s due in part to the extra dryness the tighter the curl pattern gets.

      Have you used coconut oil as part of a pre-poo? Maybe in a conditioner? You’ll probably find that it helps your hair retain moisture but you definitely don’t want it to seal the hair. You want to wash that puppy out lol

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