Do your research

Cindy Herrera, at Cindy Herrera Cuts at The Gallery of Salons in Austin, Texas, recommends you keep a folder of styles and colors you like.

“I recommend that clients start a folder of pictures that speak to them or of styles they’ve had in the past that they’ve liked or disliked.”

Once you’ve found a style that you love, Herrera recommends displaying it so you’ll see it every day.

Test it out virtually

One way to try out a new look without taking a real life risk is to have a virtual makeover. The virtual makeover at iVillage allows users upload a picture of themselves and try on several different hairstyles with the click of a button. That way, you can see firsthand how well a new style and color really suit you. Print two or three looks that you like best and bring them with you when you schedule a consultation.

Find the Right Stylist for You

One of the best things you can do for your hair is to find a stylist who really understands curly hair.

Gerri Curtis, at Blue Mambo Hair Salon in Houston, recommends that before you make an appointment with a new stylist, you should ask them a few questions: How much experience have you had cutting curly hair? What kind of training for curly hair do you have? How many curly clients do you have?

There are many ways to find a curl expert. Start by checking out the CurlSalons section of NaturallyCurly to find reviews for a stylist near you, and then schedule a consultation. And when you see a fellow curly with a cut you love, ask her who did it.

Following trends doesn't always make sense

It may seem like a good idea to get a short cut when pixies are back in or to head out for a Brazilian Keratin Treatment when straight hair is the rage. But it may not be the best look for you. Think about your lifestyle, and how much maintenance the new style will require. Becoming a redhead may seem exotic, but heading to the colorist every four weeks for touchups may be more upkeep then you can handle.

Vida Latimer, a master colorist at Devachan, isn’t a big fan of following current trends.

“I like to customize each color and style for the customer, and my goal is they will leave with a higher spirit and a higher feeling of themselves," Latimar says.

Latimer's tips for the new year include nurturing your hair.

"Always be conscious of how you’re taking care of it, and stay away from harsh chemicals, like sulfates and silicones," she says. "To get the most out of your color, you need to find a healthy product regime to boost your moisture. Once you’ve lined up the right products for your hair and learned the steps for reaching your ideal curly state, the process is very simple.”

Styling changes can make a big difference

When Yanishevsky meets with new clients, she first asks them what they want with their hair and how they take care of their hair. Then, “I 'unlearn' them and become their curly coach.”

That means teaching them the correct way to use products to get the look they want. It also means showing them different ways to wear their curls.

“I've found many curly girls don’t know how to throw their hair up and make it look cute, because when they were younger their mothers kept their hair short so they didn’t play with their hair as much,” says Curtis.

She has curly clients book appointments just to get a one-on-one lesson on easy ways to wear their hair up.