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L.C.O. Vs. L.O.C. Method: The Complete Natural Hair Moisturizing Guide

lco vs loc method
If you have naturally curly hair, chance are good that you’re no stranger to the never-ending quest for hydrated ringlets. Curly hair is notoriously tricky to moisturize, which causes some curly ladies to go to extremes to achieve soft, supple coils. While every naturalista has their own tried and true technique for achieving pillow soft curls, there’s one method everyone seems to be obsessed with: the L.O.C. method.

Even though the L.O.C. method has gained popularity over the last few years, there are a few hair professionals who believe the product layering technique is overdue for a major update. This brings us to the L.C.O. vs. L.O.C. method debate.

We teamed up with Ashley Jackson, Mizani brand ambassador and stylist, to get the scoop on everything you need to know about moisturizing naturally curly hair. Whether you have dark brown hair or vibrant coils, these tips will ensure your mane looks and feels more moisturized than ever before.

What is the L.O.C. method?

L.O.C. stands for liquid or leave-in, oil, and cream. The method indicates the order in which many people believe moisturizing and styling products should be applied to your hair. This particular method instructs you to immediately apply a liquid moisturizer or leave-in conditioner to freshly washed and conditioned hair. Next, follow the liquid or leave-in with a hair oil. Lastly, apply a styling cream to style and define your curls.
Many naturalistas claim this method is the best way to lock in moisture, but some hair care professionals have an issue with the order the products are applied. There’s a heated debate about whether cream or oil should be applied first, which brings us to the L.C.O. method.


What is the L.C.O. method?

The products remain the same for the L.O.C. method, but the order is a little different. In this method, the liquid or leave-in conditioner is still applied first, this time followed by a cream styling product instead of an oil.

Knowing the science behind hair and products, we [at Mizani] professionally support the L.C.O. method when layering products...By rough drying and following with a leave-in spray, your hair may be able to soak up moisture from the very first step. Following with a cream reinforces this moisture in addition to adding holding properties that are necessary for great styling.

Another big difference: Instead of applying oil to damp strands, you only apply the oil after your hair is completely dry. The primary purpose of oil is to help seal in moisture and help your strands feel soft. Why wait? The answer is pretty simple: Water and oil just don’t mix.

According to Jackson, she has observed that “by applying on dry hair, oil is able to really work into the hair, not just sit on top and block out product as it might in the L.O.C. method.”

Is the L.C.O. method suitable for all hair types?

Yes! If you have naturally curly hair or hair that is prone to dryness, the L.C.O. method may be the perfect product layering technique for your mane. Whether your hair is long, short, wavy, textured, or something in between, Jackson says the key to making the L.C.O. method works for you is to find the right products for your hair.

“For fine hair, choose lighter products in lesser quantities. For hair that is dense or coarse, select products that are more intensely moisturizing for longer lasting results,” Jackson says.

If you have fine hair:


Mizani 25 Miracle Milk

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk is suitable for all hair types, but it’s a dream for fine hair. The liquid, spray-on formula is formulated with fennel seed and coconut oil, and boasts 25 benefits including controlling flyaways, adding shine, and improved manageability.

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk, $20.00 MSRP

Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion

Formulated with coconut oil, olive oil, and marula oil, Mizani Curl Enhancing Lotion is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which hydrate the hair to help repair damage and restore smoothness and shine.
Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion, $18.00 MSRP

If you have coarse hair:

Mizani Coconut Souffle Light Moisturizing Hairdress

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk is suitable for all hair types, but if you have very coarse hair you may want a leave-in product with a little bit more substance. Mizani’s Coconut Souffle Light Moisturizing Hairdress provides weightless hydration and breakage protection and helps to restore curls natural luster without building up or weighing hair down.

Mizani Coconut Souffle Light Moisturizing Hairdress, $20.00 MSRP


Mizani True Textures Curl Defining Pudding

Mizani True Textures Curl Define Pudding is designed for coiled to extremely tight styles. The paraben and wax-free formula offers a smooth, lightweight hold, frizz control, and shine.

Mizani True Textures Curl Defining Pudding, $18.00 MSRP


For all hair types:

No matter what your hair type, for the last step Jackson recommends everyone use a lightweight oil. However, not all oils are created equal. While the coconut, almond, and olive oils that line your grocery shelves have gained a reputation for being good hair moisturizers, Jackson says you’re better off using a professional salon quality hair oil.

“Heavy oils are unable to penetrate the hair strand and sit on top, which can lead to many problems. By choosing an oil with ingredients already broken down, your hair can benefit from several different natural oils in the same product,” Jackson explains. “This ensures that your hair stays moisturized without being weighed down or blocked from moisture.”

If you’re looking for the perfect hair oil, we love Mizani’s 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil. The lightweight oil is formulated with sunflower, jojoba, olive, and coconut oils, absorbs instantly, and boasts over 20 benefits!

Interested in personalized advice about how to best care for your curls? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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