The terms LOC and LCO have been popular in the hair care world for some time. In case you’ve somehow missed it, LOC means liquid, oil, cream while LCO means liquid, cream, oil.
This is the order in which you are supposed to apply your preferred products with the premise that it will help dry hair to lock in and retain moisture; one of the key elements for growth and retention. This method can help you keep moisture locked in for as long as 2 – 3 days before reapplication is necessary.
What is the LOC Method?
With the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method, you apply a liquid, preferably distilled or rose-water but tap water works just as well, seal with oil and then apply a heavy cream such as shea butter or a pudding.
What is the LCO Method?
With the LCO (liquid, cream, oil) method, you apply the liquid, followed by the heavy cream then the oil comes last.
Chicoro, a natural hair blogger and the author of Grow It: How to Grow Afro-Textured Hair to Maximum Lengths in the Shortest Time, developed the LOC method.
What’s the Difference Between LOC & LCO Method?
In the LOC method, the oil comes second. However, oil isn’t a moisturizer. It’s an effective sealant. In order for the moisture to be truly locked in for longer, it’s better if the oil comes last as practiced in the LCO method.
While both oil and butter have the ability to create a layer of protection along the hair shaft to prevent moisture from escaping, the method works much better with oil on top of everything rather than the other way round.
In the LCO method, after applying the liquid, instead of applying a heavy butter, apply a heavy cream like Epiphany Naturals Curly Crème with Argan Oil, Camille Rose Curlaide Moisture Butter & Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk, then finish off with the oil. This is also particularly effective if you have finer hair. If you have type 4 hair, you can use the heavy butter for the second layer.
Does this mean the LOC method is useless? Of course not. For the last layer, do not use any water based creams. If your hair product ingredients start with aqua, then the cream is water based. Examples of non-water based heavy creams include all butters, Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream and Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine.
I have tried both methods on my hair with several different products and below is the combination that worked best for me. I have a mix of 3c, 4a & 4b hair (if you’re not sure what your hair type is, take a look at this article – Hair Types.
- Liquid – rose-water or distilled water. You can also use water based moisturizers for this but the truth is nothing works as great as water. Aqua has to be the first ingredient in the moisturizer for this to work by the way.
- Cream – shea butter or Epiphany Naturals Curly Crème with Argan Oil.
- Oil – my favourites are coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond, argan, olive oil, castor and vitamin e oil (I dilute castor and vitamin e oil with lighter oils) depending on the time of year/weather.
If you are also practicing the max hydration method, the LCO method works wonders. Whichever method you utilise in the end depends on your hair’s reaction to it and the ingredients involved. I would recommend trying both before making a decision.
Do you find LOC to be more effective than LCO and vice versa? Let’s know in the comments section.