Preparing the hair for the cut is simple, but getting the best results with black hair means ignoring the common beauty-school stuff! At least, ignoring the stuff that's commonly taught in the 97%-white areas that have no hairstylists who know what to do when they see a head of curly hair, anyway!
First, make sure the hair is dry!
This is IMPORTANT! Real curls (not the kind straight-haired people get with a perm) relax a bit when wet. But they don't do it evenly. So, if you cut natural black hair with it wet, you end up with hills 'n valleys when you're done! And you don't want that. You want a nice, even cut like the people on the news, so it looks like you spent $50 just for the cut!
But you also need the hair to be clean and snarl-free.
Clean hair cuts better and more evenly. And snarls in the hair will definitely cause an uneven end result!
So, wash the hair the day before you intend to cut it. Then, right before you're going to start cutting, comb it.
DO NOT use one of those Afro-picks. Those are good for nothing when it comes to getting serious snarls out! Use a regular comb. Mine's a Goody. They're about $2 for a pack of 2, and are quite readily available in drugstores in any area where you have to worry about getting your black hair cut ;) Oh, and DON'T get one of those cheapie 25¢-50¢ things. They just bend when faced with real hair!
Comb the hair out from front to back. This will be important. Even though it looks about the same no matter how it's combed, the hairs will actually be leaning toward the back when you're done. This is important, because to get the best out of your clipper and not have to make 10 passes, you'll be cutting "against the grain" that you just combed in.
Now for the haircutting equipment we'll be using...