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LOC vs LCO Methods | Similar, But Also Very Different

LOC vs. LCO are two methods for taking care of hair. But which way is best for you? What are the benefits of each? How do they differ? Read on to learn more about these two methods and find out which one is right for you.

LOC vs LCO Methods: A Summary

Woman comparing the LOC vs LCO method of hair care


LOC refers to liquid, oil, cream, while LCO stands for liquid, cream, oil. The methods are applied in different orders, but they have the same goal: to keep hair hydrated and healthy.

The method you use depends on your hair type and your hair needs. So let’s compare and contrast the two methods and help you decide which one is best for you.

What Is the LOC Method?

LOC stands for “liquid, oil, cream.” This method involves applying products in this order: liquid, oil, cream. Using products in this order will help to keep your hair moisturized and healthy.

The LOC method is a great way to take care of your hair if you have dry or damaged hair. The liquid product will help to hydrate your hair, the oil will help seal in the moisture, and the cream will help to give your hair a soft hold.

There is no right or wrong way to use the LOC method. You can pick three products from the same line and use them together, or you can choose a product from different brands to mix and match.

If you have type 3B or 3C curls, the LOC method will work best for you. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use it:

1. Liquid

The liquid, which is usually water-based, is the first step. You disperse it throughout your hair, from roots to tips. Water is the only product required in this step; however, you can also use a conditioner for extra moisturizing benefits.

2. Oil

The oil works as a sealant to lock moisture into your hair. You need to use about one teaspoon of oil to do this. You can choose from various oils to add shine and luster to your hair, including coconut oil, argan oil, castor oil, or olive oil.

If your hair is natural, look for thick and rich products that are not greasy. For transitioning hair, use light oils that absorb readily into your hair without being too heavy or leaving your hair feeling oily.

3. Cream

The cream works as a styling product by holding the shape you give to your curls once they are dry. Creams give definition, shine and hold. You can use gel, pomade, or mousse as a cream product.

Using all three products helps hydrate your hair, strengthen it and increase its elasticity. The process can help keep frizz at bay and keep your curls looking defined.

Benefits of Using the LOC Method

The benefits of using the LOC method are that it’s a great way to moisturize your hair and seal in that moisture. Not only does it moisturize your hair, but it also adds shine and works to counteract frizz.

If you have dry or brittle hair, the LOC method is perfect for adding moisture back into your strands. This method is excellent for keeping your hair healthy and hydrated, especially during the winter months when the air is dry, and the wind is cold.

Other benefits of using the LCO method:

  • Keeps hair protected from damage
  • It helps maintain a healthy scalp and follicles
  • Keeps hair moisturized
  • Reduces frizziness, flyaways, and static electricity
  • Increases shine

What Is the LCO Method?

LCO stands for “liquid, cream, oil.” This method involves applying products in this order: liquid, cream, oil. It differs from LOC by using a cream between the oil and liquid since the cream serves as an additional moisturizer before applying the oil.

The LCO method works best for type 4 hair as it requires the most moisture. Type 4 hair is dry and tightly coiled, so it is prone to breakage and needs a lot of hydration. If you have type 4 hair, here is a step-by-step guide on how to use the LCO method:

1. Liquid

The first product should be a liquid or a water-based product. Distribute it evenly throughout your hair from roots to tips and work it in as thoroughly as possible.

2. Cream

Next, apply a cream product. For type 4 hair, you want to choose a thicker cream that contains shea, cocoa, or mango butter. These provide long-lasting moisture and protection for your hair.

3. Oil

Finally, add an oil product to seal in the moisture from the cream and liquid products. Oils such as olive, castor, or jojoba are great for type 4 hair. You can also add gel after the oil for extra hold and frizz control.

Benefits of Using the LCO Method

Using the LCO method can keep moisture in your hair, prevent split ends, and make it easier to manage. The LCO method increases your hair’s hydration by using another moisturizer before the sealant. Creating a protective coat around the hair prevents it from losing moisture.

The added moisture minimizes breakage and reduces split ends. The result will be longer, stronger hair with less damage. More benefits of using the LCO Method are:

  • Liquid and cream keep the hair hydrated
  • The oils give hair shine and seal in moisture
  • Protects hair from sun damage and other environmental factors
  • Protects hair from breakage
  • It keeps the hair soft and silky
  • It prevents frizz and flyaways

Things to Consider: LOC vs LCO

LOC vs LCO method hair types

There are a few things to consider when deciding which method is best for you: the type of hair you have, the products you prefer, and the level of moisture you need. If you have wavy, curly, or slightly coily hair, the LOC method is probably a better choice for you than the LCO method.

The LOC method effectively locks in moisture without weighing hair down, which curly and wavy hair types need to shine. The LCO method will work best if you have thicker hair that needs extra hydration and doesn’t retain moisture as easily.

Tightly coiled and kinky hair types well with LCO and will give it the nourishment it needs. It may take a trial-and-error period before you discover which method works best for your hair.

If the first way doesn’t seem to work, try using the alternate method for a few weeks and see what happens. You may find that your hair responds better to the other system.

Choosing the Right Products for Your Hair Type

When using the LOC or LCO methods for hair care, choosing the right products for your hair type is essential. The right product will help keep your hair adequately hydrated and protected from damage.

The first step is to identify your hair type. 3 and 4 hair types benefit most from LOC and LCO methods. Each type has its own set of characteristics, so it’s important to use products designed for your hair type.

3 Hair Type Characteristics

  • Medium to low density
  • Typically high porosity
  • Easily weighed down

The best curl creams for 3 hair types are light, hydrating, and contain humectants that allow the product to bind moisture to the hair without weighing it down. These products ensure your curls form well and stay hydrated even in high humidity conditions.

4 Hair Type Characteristics

  • High to very high density
  • Typically low porosity
  • Requires heavy creams to retain moisture for wash and go styles

The best curl creams for 4 hair types are rich, hydrating, and contain a blend of humectants and emollients. These ingredients help to strengthen the hair strands by adhering to them, trapping in moisture, and locking out frizz.

Keeping Your Hair Healthy and Hydrated

The LOC and LCO methods are a great way to maintain healthy hair. These are other things you can do to keep your hair healthy and hydrated:


  • Deep condition your hair 1-3 times a month with an intensive deep conditioner for 5-10 minutes. You can also do this overnight under a shower cap.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up and excess oil.
  • Invest in a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to prevent your hair from losing moisture.
  • Wash your brushes and combs once a week to remove dirt or bacteria.


  • Wash your hair too often, as frequent washes can strip hair of its natural oils.
  • Tug at your hair aggressively, especially when it is wet. Imagine you are handwashing it as gently as cashmere.
  • Wash your hair with hot water, as it can dry out and damage your hair. Warm or lukewarm water is ideal for cleansing the scalp and hair.

Along with the LOC or LCO method, these tips will help you maintain healthy hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Different types of women using the LOC vs LCO Methods


These are the most commonly asked questions about LOC and LCO hair care methods.

Is LCO or LOC Method Better?

Both the LOC and LCO methods have pros and cons, but the best option for you will depend on your hair type and needs. The LOC method is suitable for wavy or curly hair, while the LCO method is excellent for curly or kinky hair.

Is LCO or LOC Better for Low Porosity Hair?

LCO is better for low porosity hair because it involves adding cream before sealing it with oil. But, if you try the method and aren’t getting the results you want, you might try LOC.

What is the Difference Between LOC and LCO?

The difference between the two methods is that either cream or oil comes first. In LCO, you start with cream and follow it with oil. With LOC, you start with oil and add the cream after.

What Is the LCO Method for 4C Hair?

The LCO method is a hair care routine for 4C hair that stands for Liquid, Cream, Oil. The LCO method benefits 4C hair because it adds hydration with a moisturizing liquid, adds additional moisture with a butter or conditioner, and locks in the moisture with an oil.

Is LCO Good for High Porosity?

LCO moisturizes low-porosity strands and keeps them moist and supple. High-porosity hair absorbs moisture easily, so the LCO method may leave it feeling weighed down.

Experiment with both because the method you choose to use depends on your hair’s condition. But if your hair falls in the high-porosity category, it may be best to stick with the LOC method.

Can I Use the LOC Method if My Hair Is Dry?

If your hair is prone to dryness, use the LCO method instead of the LOC method. The LCO method involves adding cream to the hair before sealing it with oil, which helps retain moisture.

Can I Do LOC or LCO on Dry Hair?

It is best to apply the LOC and LCO methods on damp, freshly washed hair because the hair’s cuticle is open and can more easily absorb the moisturizing ingredients in the product.

You may choose to apply LOC or LCO to dry hair as a pre-poo treatment, but be aware that your results may not be as effective as those achieved from these techniques on damp hair.

What Are the Benefits of Using the LOC Method for Curly Hair?

The LOC method for curly hair is beneficial because it locks in moisture, defines curls, eliminates frizz, and prevents volume loss.

LOC vs LCO: Which Is Best?

LOC and LCO are two different hair care methods that work best for specific curl types. The LOC method is best for wavy or curly hair, while the LCO method works well with kinky or curly strands.

Choosing one over the other may depend on your personal preferences and the type of curl pattern you have. Experiment to see which technique suits you best.

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