- Wandeth Van Grover, MPH
The L.O.C. Regimen
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
The LOC is a common three-step method for moisturizing natural hair. L is for leave-in conditioner or liquid, O stands for oil, and C refers to the cream. Starting from the lightest product and layers to the heaviest product. Lighter weight leave-in conditioners are going to actually absorb into the hair shaft to moisturize, and so will a penetrating hair oil. Other hair oils can serve as the sealant for your leave-in. Your final step, the cream, will also help seal in the moisturizers, in addition to smoothing the cuticle down, so hair doesn’t look frizzy and adding extra definition.
The LOC hair method is generally better for those with tighter curls. While loose spirals and waves can get dry too, they’re more likely to be weighed down by the combination of products this technique involves applying. High porosity hair has trouble sealing in moisture, while low porosity hair doesn’t let it in at all. Since this hair routine is designed to moisturize natural hair, it’s a great match for high porosity hair, which tends to dry fast and feels dry. If you want to use the LOC method on your hair and have strands in the 2C to 2A range, you’ll have to be especially careful to avoid greasy locks.
1. Leave-in conditioner. The leave-in conditioner that you choose depends on your curl pattern. If your curls tend to get weighed down easily, go with a lighter weight leave-in. For dense and dryer hair, a heavier, more moisturizing formula is the best option. It should be liquid-y enough to actually penetrate the hair, meaning spray-on formulas are best for this step rather than thicker leave-in creams.
2. Oil. Pick an oil based on your hair porosity. Ones that actually penetrate the hair shaft are coconut, monoi, olive, and avocado oils. Thicker textures like 4C hair can likely benefit from both, while low porosity hair needs a lighter oil for it to absorb. You can layer the lighter oil, followed by the richer one unless you have fine hair (yes, even curly hair can be fine), in which case, it’s best to stick with the lighter oil that will penetrate.
3. Cream. The LOC cream works as the top coat to keep all of your moisturizer inside each strand. The cream you go with again depends on how light or heavy of a formula your texture can handle. Heavier styling creams are ideal for coarser textures, and lighter hair creams are the best solution for wavy and fine textures.
Applying three layers of product every day is likely to cause buildup and weighed down curls. The LOC method is most ideally done on wash day when you’re starting with a freshly washed head. You can also do the LOC technique to refresh and rehydrate curls in between washes, but in this case, use the lighter versions of your products, so hair doesn’t get greasy.