Guess what I've been doing? Trying to solve the problem of dry natural hair, especially for new naturals.
I get a lot of questions about the L.O.C. method of moisturizing natural hair. For those who don't know, L.O.C means Liquid, Oil and Cream. This shows the order of application of products to keep hair moisturized and sealed for longer. Moisturized hair is softer and less prone to breakage, splits and knots. To put it simply, moisturized hair is healthy, happy hair. Moisturized hair is also less likely to frizz and poof up.
So with the L.O.C. method, you first apply a liquid (water), then seal in with any oil favored by your hair and then apply your hair cream/butter/pudding/styler.
For many naturals, this method helps retain moisture in the hair for up to two days after application.
It's really effective and you can tweak it by applying the hair cream after the water/liquid and sealing it all in with an oil.
The downside to this method is that it's a lot of steps and when you're in a hurry, you won't have the patience to spritz with water, seal with oil and layer the hair cream on top of that.....case study: ME!
My mum actually got me working on this problem. She got a bit confused when I tried to teach her how to L.O.C. her natural teeny weeny afro. She has a lot of greys and her hair gets so dry.
So most times, she's a bit heavy handed with either the oil or the cream and other times, she's so busy that she doesn't really have time for the three step moisturizing and sealing process.
Another thing is that it is quite difficult to find effective one step moisturizers in Nigerian stores that will be effective on natural hair in the Nigerian climate. Most are either too oily, too runny, too drying or too useless!
NaturalNigerian has tried to solve this problem by producing a leave-in conditioner with hair friendly ingredients. I haven't tried it yet so honestly can't say much, except that it's designed by a Nigerian with Nigerian natural hair living in Nigeria, so she understands!
My hair can't wait for me to get some. But in the meantime, I have to find a one step moisturizer without having to go shopping, which means using products I already have. I got to the drawing board and tinkered with some of the hair products available and found a formula that combines the L.O.C. three step method in one easy step.....just apply to dry hair and ends. Period.
-Clean Water (I use distilled or spring water),
-Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream and
-Oil. I use a mix of coconut, olive and castor oil. You don't really need a mix. One type of oil is sufficient.
In about 100 ml of clean water in a bottle, I added 2 tbs of Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair cream and 1 tsp of oil and mixed thoroughly.
It will form a lotion which you can dilute with more water until it's a consistency you like.
Simply apply to hair, style and go. That's it!
*Note: For hygienic reasons, please use up the mix in three days or less. You can also refrigerate it!
So,you may ask,
'...but Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream is a leave in conditioner! Why do you have to go through the extra steps of mixing?"
Well, for my natural hair type, Cantu Leave in Conditioner justs sits on my hair in one white mess and despite my highly porous hair, takes a longer time to be absorbed.
Same with my mum's, my sister's, friends and some clients, so I'm thinking it's a Nigerian hair thing, lol! Not all 'oyibo' products work well in our weather or our hair. I've even tried applying the product on damp hair and sealing with oil but I have to work it in for longer to be absorbed.
I haven't ditched the Cantu Leave In because when it does get absorbed, my fine natural hair feels soooooooooo soft like candy floss without being weighed down. Also, a simple spritz of water revives my hair. No extra products needed.
I try as much as possible to prevent product build up to avoid scalp and hair issues. Less product buildup also means I don't have to wash my hair with clarifying shampoo very often which also means I'm not drying out my hair with cleansers. It also means that simply washing my hair with African black soap or cowashing with a clarifying conditioner is all I need to keep my hair clean.
This DIY moisturizer has really helped me keep my hair just as soft and supple for as long as if I did the L.O.C. It also saved me time! I also used it for my twists and twist-outs and they come out shiny, healthy and less likely to poof up in this current rainy season. For my mum, there's less risk of being heavy handed and her grey TWA is so moisturised.
She loves it! Score!!!!
It also works really well for transitioners too.
Now as an advocate for Nigerian products, I tried this same mix using Emily Millionaire Coconut and Herbs hair conditioner but it just didn't work out so well. I still think I'm missing something.
I also tried it using our regular conditioners but so far only Cantu Shea Leave In Conditioner has given me good results.
So, that's my new secret for moisturised hair the L.O.C. way in one easy step!
Till I spill again,
Live Beautifully. Naturally.