Over the years, I’ve grown to love my journey of transitioning to natural hair. There have definitely been struggles, but there is no greater pride in ourselves as black women than taking care of what is naturally our own. I love scouring the internet for better ways to tend to myself by tending to my hair’s needs, from the inside and out.
Something I struggled with for a long time was keeping my hair moisturized and manageable. Especially in these coming cold months. I would read about all these naturalistas beaming about how soft their type 4 hair was, and wondering if it was possible for me.
“You’re hair shouldn’t feel like straw.” If you hear a crunchy sound when you squeeze your hair, your hair is too dry.” Reading this, and the all too familiar consequences of dry hair (breakage, slowed growth, knots) scared me into realizing that I needed to take better care of my hair. I was slacking. HARD.
So after a lot of trial and error, here’s how I discovered why the LCO method for natural hair left me with softer and more manageable curls than the LOC method.
LCO Method For Natural Hair
This. Is. THE. HOLY. GRAIL. And even better, it’s natural AND simple. Just 3 steps!
L: Leave-in conditioner or water
Water is the ultimate moisturizer, with the natural ability to penetrate the hair shaft at the deepest part of the cuticle, and adds elasticity to each strand. The more elastic (stretches easily) your hair is, the greater ability it has to withstand all the styling, heating, and coloring we put it through, and the pollutants from the environment. If not water, choose a conditioner with water listed as the first ingredient for a true moisturizer.
I usually use just plain water after shampooing or co-washing, or Cantu’s Leave-In Conditioning Cream distributed throughout on wet hair. But on in-between days, especially in a hurry, I have a mixture of 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 Tbsp caster oil, 2 Tbsp of the Cantu Leave-In cream, and 2 cups water in a spritz bottle to combine both steps in one!
C: A heavy butter or cream
A heavy butter or cream, like As I Am’s Twist Defining Cream or raw shea butter, will help lock in the moisture from the addition of water to your hair. This is the magic of the LCO method for natural hair. If you used a cream like the Cantu for your first step, the creaminess doubles as this step! Too much product build-up can lead to struggling growth, I’ve found. The scalp can’t breathe under all that heavy oil!
Whenever I can, I look to natural additions to my hair care regimen. I love using coconut oil as my sealant on my Type 4 hair because I’ve found it to soak into my hair and leave it softer for longer. I prefer the raw, unrefined coconut oil because I don’t have to worry about how the artificial additives will affect my hair.
Oil as my last step seals all the moisture from the water, leave-in and butter. For my coarse hair, the LCO method, rather than the LOC method, has left my hair feeling better than ever!
And here’s an extra tip… concentrate product on the ends of your hair, because they are the oldest part of the hair shaft and need a bit more TLC to stay moisturized.
LCO Method For Natural Hair: Moisturizing with Water-Based Product + Sealant
The LCO method for natural hair is an amazing technique for softer hair, but sometimes my hair gets a bit dry in-between co-washing and LCO days. Before it gets dry, I spritz my hair, especially the ends, with the mixture of conditioner and oil I mentioned earlier.
LCO Method For Natural Hair: Pre-pooing
On my shampoo days, I try to protect my hair with oils as much as I can. I pre-poo with coconut oil before using my Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo. If you’re not familiar with pre-pooing, it’s basically a hot oil treatment and left on the hair for 15-30 min.
The shampoo has an addition of Argan oil for extra moisture and slip because even though it is sulfate-free, it is designed to rid the scalp of oils and buildup and can sacrifice moisture in the process.
I only shampoo about once a month and rely on co-washing as another way keep my hair clean, but not strip it of its necessary moisture. Along with the LCO method and spritzing every few days, my hair hardly gets a chance to lose moisture. And experimenting with my hair becomes easier and has been turning out softer and less frizzy.
Drinking More Water!
That’s it! Drink more water. We do all the steps to get keep our hair moisturized from the outside, why not the inside? Drinking water has so many benefits, including making sure that the new hair growth is as healthy as possible, which has made my hair easier to work with as it grows longer.
Going through the journey of learning what works for my hair and applying these techniques took listening to what my inner voice was telling me and what my body was showing me. Self-care is one of the best gifts of self-love we can give ourselves. Dryness is not a good sign of healthy hair, and luckily there are habits we can easily work into our hair regimens that both our souls and natural hair will definitely thank us for.
How do all of you keep you natural hair moisturized? Do you use the LCO method for natural hair?
I’d love to hear your results!
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