Trying to decide whether the LOC or LCO method is better for your natural hair is like trying to decide who the Queen of R&B is. It’s all based on opinion and personal preference. Or is it? 

One thing is for certain, no matter your hair care routine, your go-to method, or the style you try, the bottom line is always the same; it’s what works best for your hair type and texture. 

We all have our own unique natural hair care regimen. We have different textures, curl patterns, densities, porosities, environments, budgets, and preferences. One thing we all can agree on however, is the importance of moisture. That’s where the LOC or LCO method comes in to save the day. 

Regardless of which method you use, the primary goal of LOC or LCO is to give your hair as much moisture as possible. We all know that natural black hair can be drier and more brittle, especially if you’ve got type 4 hair. 

Dryness is curly and coily hair’s worst enemy because these delicate strands are inherently prone to it and the potential breakage, dullness, and damage it can cause. We highly recommend the tried-and-true LOC or LCO method for natural or relaxed hair as an easy yet amazing way to thoroughly moisturize your thirsty curls and coils. 

Several of the African Pride products in our Moisture Miracle collection are perfect for using with the LOC or LCO  method. But what products should you be using and in what order? How do you know which method is right for you? We’re answering all your questions plus, breaking down the differences between LOC and LCO.

The LOC Method

LOC stands for: Leave-in, oil, cream. This easy 3-step process is great for adding extra hydration to dry hair and tackling frizz. This process works by penetrating the hair shaft which helps repair the structure and integrity of the hair while also sealing in that much-needed moisture. 

The basic idea behind the LOC method is to hydrate the hair with a liquid, hold the moisture in with an oil, and seal it in with a cream. Each step contributes to keeping the moisture in the hair strands. First the liquid opens up the hair cuticles, which readies the hair to receive moisture. With the cuticles open, the oil can properly penetrate the hair shafts so that they can hold in the moisture. 

The cream closes the hair cuticle back up, sealing everything in and preventing moisture loss. Keeping the hair moisturized with the LOC method not only makes hair softer and shiner, but it also prevents breakage, dryness, and frizz.

The LCO Method

LCO stands for: leave-in, cream, oil. This is a similar 3-step process which follows a slightly different order. Ultimately, using cream before oil in this method will help to seal in moisture from the surface, making your curls feel lighter. However, if you have thinner hair this method might weigh your strands down. 

This method follows the similar steps as the LOC method except in this case you hydrate the hair with a liquid, add moisture with a cream and seal it with oil.

LOC vs LCO Method

woman tugging curly hair

While very similar, there are some key differences between the two moisturizing methods. Primarily, this has to do with the order you use the products. Switching up the order of products may not seem groundbreaking in any way, but believe it or not, the order you choose to use them can give you very different results. 

Both methods are easy 3-step and 3-product processes. Both methods ensure dry hair will get a healthy boost of moisture and shine. You can pretty much use the LOC and LCO methods interchangeably depending on the look you want to achieve or the hair issue you’re trying to combat. Using cream before oil in the LCO method will seal in moisture from the surface, giving your curls a lighter feel, while using oil before cream in the LOC method penetrates the hair sealing in more moisture within, weighing your hair down a little more.

You can switch up the order of the oil in the LOC or LCO method to seal in moisture, or you can achieve the same level of moisture no matter the method by using moisturizing and sealing oils together. Most people are unaware of the difference between a moisturizing oil and a sealing oil (read more about that here) or how mixing them together can make hair regimens more manageable and easier to stick to. Be honest, we all want to achieve moisture poppin’ curls and coils as quickly and effortlessly as possible right?

Which Method is Best for my Hair?

Typically the LCO method is best for type 4A and 4B, fine/medium hair, and high-porosity hair since it has larger open pores that can absorb more product and avoid clogged follicles. The LOC method is better for type 4 (A, B, C), thin hair, and all porosity types. 

While your hair type can dictate which method you use, you can also pick the LCO or LOC method based on your hair goals. Let’s look at some hypothetical scenarios: It’s the middle of summer and tomorrow you have a full day planned with your girls; a day party, cookout and pool party before fireworks, which means a lot of sun and maybe getting your coils and curls wet. 

While the LCO method would result in a lighter and fuller look, keeping you cooler and more comfortable, the LOC method would cause you to sweat more and likely leave a glistening trail of cocoa-shea-butter-goodness running down your neck. We’ll say it for you, in this case LOC is a“hard pass.”

Next up, it’s cuffing season. You finally decided to go out with the guy your friend has been trying to hook you up with and he wants to take you ice skating and to dinner. Sealing in as much moisture as possible is a must to ensure the cold doesn’t leave your twist out or up-do dry and dehydrated. By sealing in extra moisture, the LOC method, would keep your hair glistening under the moonlight or beside candlelight.

The Best Methods For LOC or LCO

Just because you’re switching up the order doesn’t mean you can’t use the same products. The first step will be the same, using African Pride Leave-In Conditioner. If your hair is dry lightly re-wet it with water or do this step when you’re fresh out of the shower. With clean, damp hair generously spray each section with leave-in conditioner. Make sure to show extra love to your ends as they’re typically the driest and most susceptible to breakage.

moisture miracle leave in conditioner

Next, reach for your oil or cream. We love our ultra-nourishing African Pride 5 Essential Oils which combines castor oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, coconut oil, and olive oil to lock in hydration. When it comes to cream, our Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream provides non-flaking shine, moisture, and curl definition. 

moisture miracle 5 essential oils

No matter which method you choose, both LOC and LCO give dry, textured hair a much-needed boost of moisture. Plus, either method (depending on your hair type and need) helps keep strands quenched between wash days. Or, you can do the LOC or LCO method every time you do a wash and go style, typically every 1-2 weeks.

The LOC and LCO methods are not only meant to be a hair care routine, but also a style. All our Moisture Miracle products are made to highlight the individual natural beauty of your curls to keep them cute, healthy, and bouncing until your next wash day. 

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