Our beloved (misguided) moms and society had us believing that water was the enemy of our hair. Water was not allowed near our blow-dried/ straightened hair, our braids, our relaxed hair, our even scalps.
We would go weeks and months without a drop of water in our parched hair, until natural hair gurus shared a little secret with us – moisture is the key, moisture retention is everything!
Curly, coily and kinky hair requires a lot of the correct kind of moisture. Water is the first step to moisturized hair – it hydrates the hair. The next important thing is to keep the hydration in the hair.
So, how do we keep/ retain the moisture water in our hair? The LOC method, that was documented by the author of The Science of Black Hair, Audrey Davis-Sivaothy’s, and passionately adopted by all the healthy haired gurus we know and love today.
The what, how and why of the LOC method is in the name: Liquid, Oil and Cream.
L = liquid i.e. water, or in some cases water-based leave-in conditioner. This is easy to achieve on a wash day because your hair is soaked through. On non-wash days use water-based sprays, daily conditioners or leave-ins. It’s imperative that water/ aqua be the first thing on the ingredient list, always check.
O = oil, however, please note that penetrating is the unmentioned prefix of oil. We all know from school that oil and water don’t mix but certain natural oils are able to penetrate the hair shaft and bind with the hairs internal structure or protein. These oils increase the hair’s ability to hold on to water molecules. Some penetrating oils are coconut, olive and avocado
C = cream, this is used to seal in the benefits of the two steps above (not to seal your hair cuticles). A creamy moisturizer that acts as a styler/ curl definer may work for you. On the other hand, a natural butter like Shea or Mango may do the trick. Some might even go for a sealing oil like Castor, Grapeseed or Jojoba. It really depends on your hair and your preference.
How to Moisturise
Follow the order in the name – L then O then C. Others have found that switching the cream and the oil suits them better and so their moisture regimen becomes LCO. Others have extended their process as far as LOBOCCO (B for butter), but at the end of the day the principle remains the same – hydrate, penetrate and seal.
Why moisturise your hair
We are LOC-king in the moisture, lol.
The beauty of this natural hair journey is you learn as you grow, and what works for your hair in the present may change sometime in the future. It’s an evolution, it’s a love affair – with ups and downs – but worth the moisturised healthy hair in the end.
Remember once hair is damaged there’s nothing you can do to reverse it. The only thing would be to patch it up with protein treatments and protecting it from further damage by keeping it moisturized and coating it with natural oils.