Natural hair loves moisture.
This is and established fact. Have you ever noticed how new born babies always have soft, shiny hair at first, and then after some time it becomes kinky? I think it’s because it’s well moisturized in the womb, and this level of moisture is difficult to maintain in real life, hence the loss of the shine and softness which doesn’t happen to other hair textures because of their ability to hold more moisture than kinky hair.
I believe it is possible to get Natural Hair back to this level of softness and shine by increasing its moisture levels. There are 2 things involved in doing this; Get moisture into the hair and Retain the moisture!
To get moisture into the hair, you need to get it past the Cuticle, and into the Medulla itself. The best moisturizer is also the most readily available, water. To increase the moisture levels in your hair, you should hydrate form the inside and outside. Remember how they always say you should drink 8 glasses of water? Yup! Please do, if only for your hair. This will support your hydrating efforts from the outside. A very good way of getting water deep into your Hair Shaft is Deep Conditioning. Now, since we know that water dries off pretty quickly, we need to look at how to keep the moisture in our hair after applying it.
Retaining moisture is all about your Hair Care Routine, which is what you do everyday. (You know how you wake up, brush, bathe, moisturize and deodorize, etc.) Lets look at a widely acclaimed routine for achieving Moisture Retention on Natural Hair.
LOC stands for Liquid, Oil and Cream. This is a method of applying moisture to your hair that helps increased retention. To do it, you first apply a liquid to your hair, then an oil, and then a cream.
The best liquid to use is of course, water. This can be done using a spray bottle which you can buy. (Or just convert an empty product bottle with a spray top, like I did.) This helps disperse the water evenly all over your hair, and avoids spills and mess. You can also use a liquid leave in conditioner.
What the oil does is to attach the water molecules to your hair. This is where you wonder how this can be, because we all know that oil and water don’t mix, abi? Let me explain. There are a few oils that can get through the hair cuticle and bind with the protein inside the hair shaft. These oils are made up of molecules that are really small, which allow them get into the hair shaft, and bind the water molecules to the internal structures of your hair. Three oils with this property and effect are Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, and Avocado Oil. Thankfully, the first 2 are readily available in almost every open market in Nigeria, and you can actually make them yourself if you have the patience.
The last step is Cream. The best kind is of course, water-based. Most leave in conditioners are good, and will keep the your hair moisturized all day by forming a capsule around your hair shaft to keep the moisture in.This is called Moisture Sealing, because it literally seals the hydration into your hair. I also use Shea Butter which is my go-to hair product because of all its benefits.
The LOC Method is a trusted moisture retention routine that will keep your hair moisturized between wash days.
Alternative LOC Method, LCO
This is basically the same as the LOC Method, but is to be used when you don’t have the 3 oils mentioned above. Any other oils you choose are not likely to have the humectant capacity of Olive, Avocado and Coconut Oils, and will block water molecules from getting through. They should therefore be used to seal after applying Liquid and Cream.
How to apply it
Part your hair into 4 sections (6 or 8 for shorter hair), and apply each item to each section, paying more attention to areas like your hairline, crown and nape, as they are usually the more sensitive areas of hair.