In the latest installment of our weekly Natural Hair Diary, Afrobella.com’s Patrice Grell Yursik profiles a Houston-area mom with a gorgeous head of coppery curls.

Natural Woman: Troylynn Hebert

Age: “Old enough!”

City: Houston

Occupation: Former engineer, current stay-at-home mom

Hair Journey: From childhood through adulthood, Troylynn relaxed her hair on a regular basis. “When I was in high school, my mom used to relax my hair with Dark & Lovely’s at-home kit. I never knew anybody who had natural hair back then.”

When Troylynn decided to transition from relax to natural hair in 2008, it wasn’t out of a desire to embrace natural beauty. It was out of necessity! “When I moved to Houston, I had a hard time finding a hairstylist, so I’d go to a new one each time I needed a relaxer,” she says. “All the different formulas and techniques took a toll on my hair. When I noticed my part getting wider, I consulted a hair doctor, who suggested I go natural. I was terrified! I had no idea what my natural texture was like or how I’d manage it.”

Troylynn wanted to maintain her length, so she transitioned over a period of two years, using styling methods to blend the two textures of hair. “I used flexi rods to make Shirley Temple curls, or I used wave rollers to wear my hair really curly,” she says, adding that natural hair blogs and YouTube videos helped teach her how to maintain and style her new texture. “Going natural has been the best thing I’ve ever done to my hair. My hair is healthier and thicker than ever. And I’ve gotten more compliments in the past year than I have my entire life!”

Favorite Products: Giovanni 50/50 Shampoo ($10, amazon.com), Clairol Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner ($6.19, amazon.com), Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner ($7.99, walgreens.com), unrefined shea butter, unrefined coconut oil, and deep treatments with virgin olive oil
Hair Icons: Yaya DaCosta, Tanika Ray, Curly Nikki and Afrobella

Advice to Aspiring Naturals: “Stick with it. It may be challenging at first but the rewards are well worth it!”