The Great Debate: L.C.O vs. L.O.C. Method

If you are a new natural, a seasoned veteran or someone who still relaxes their hair, one thing is true for us all: moisture is essential for hair health! There are A LOT of techniques out there for moisturizing your hair, but there are few that stand out above the rest.  These two stand out in particular because of their results and their simple directions. What are they? What truly is the difference, and out of the two, is one method superior to the other?

I am speaking of course about the L.O.C. and L.C.O. moisturizing methods that have the (natural) hair community sounding off over, each person declaring their fierce loyalty to one process or the other. L.O.C. and L.C.O are the acronyms for the order in which you apply products to your hair in these processes. L stands for liquid, O stands for oil and C stands for cream or conditioner.

Let’s break each letter down:

L - Liquid. For this, you have a few options of what you can use, but the main objective of this first step is to add initial moisture to your hair. Most folks use water for that reason since it is the ultimate moisturizer! If you’d like to try more than just water, consider using fresh aloe, vegetable glycerin or even a light leave-in conditioner instead.

O - Oil. This step is meant to retain and prevent the loss of moisture. Since oil and water do not mix, oil makes a great sealant. Step one adds moisture as we mentioned, while the Oil step locks it in by fully saturating the strands. Depending on your preference would determine if you’d use oil secondly or last. We will go over how to decide that in a bit. Many types of oils can be used in this step (like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, etc), but we suggest using something light and complex in ingredients like Nuele! With oils like Argan and Jojoba in Nuele, we are ensuring that the hair and scalp are not being weighed down but adding some life to them.

C - Cream or Conditioner. This step conditions the hair, as well as acting as an insurance policy for enhancing your natural curls or texture. Dull locks can fully come to life after applying a good creamy product! While thick butters are some of my favorites, using something too thick might cause residue because of the other layers of product you used in the first two steps. Raw African Shea butter is my favorite answer to this common hair problem. It’s great for both your hair and skin and a little goes a very long way, so I don’t have to worry too much about having white hair after a wash.

So why does this process work? Each step acts like a tag-team partner, helping along the next step in the process. The liquid moisturizes and the oil saturates while the cream/conditioner seals and locks in all of that, actually penetrating the follicles. Sometimes when you are using products that work well but not in the optimal way, they can remain on top of the hair and scalp, while underneath your hair is not receiving what it needs. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen?  Which order will work for you?

In doing natural hair, or hair in general, you must follow what works best for you despite what products or methods others swear by! Take even this blog post with a grain of salt, applying what works for you to your life and discarding the rest. Typically, L.C.O benefits looser curls and waves. Ending on an oil and not a cream limits the heaviness these hair types tend to get when using thicker products. L.O.C. benefits tighter and kinkier curly hair types because the curly strands are often harder to retain moisture with. Putting Oil in the middle of the process helps these textures from drying out quicker and the Conditioner makes sure it stays there.

Try both to see which works for you on freshly washed hair!