I use a Korean brand, magic straightener from Create. It works great and includes a dial that goes as hot as 400 degrees but I usually tone it down to 250~300. The only con is that you can't curl your hair with it more than a single curl in or out or to the side. I have a separate curling iron for that. I'm not sure if you can buy it in the US though..
Always check online reviews for any beauty product! More often than not, you'll find reviews online that will help you.
- Use heat protectant spray or lotion. I'm not a fan of using TOO much products so I sometimes skip this. OR just apply to tips of hair.. (using Korean product that's liquidy, or sometimes Redken).
- Deep condition your hair once every week or every other week as necessary. Tried to use olive oil and mayonnaise as people recommended, but I wasn't a fan of those. I tried Aussie's 3 minute miracle and so far, it's okay! Used it twice and it makes my hair feel really soft. Even after you wash it out; even after it dries. Online reviews for Aussie is pretty good so I gave it a shot. It's cheap too.
- Use good shampoo and conditioner. I think it depends on your hair type as well as you. Some products work better for some than others, so experiment until you find products that work for you. I heard the effectiveness gets less as your hair gets used to the products and that switching every once in a while is recommended. I don't know how valid that statement is, however. I've used a bunch in the past and currently, trying out Tresseme.
- Lay off on the heat products. Give your hair a break every once in a while. C: Try not to use heat products (hair dryer, straightener, curling irons) every day. Let your hair air dry (towel squeeze hair dry).
I straighten my hair every other day, sometimes every other 3 days. My hair is pretty soft/shiny >__< And I've dyed my hair once about 2 months ago. I think the "straighten hair too much - > damaged hair" is kind of a misconception. Then again, it just might be my hair that can handle more. My friend for instance, her hair gets fried really easily so she has to be careful how hot the iron is, and how often she heat styles her hair.
You could also consider a magic perm (straighten perm)~ lasts a good few months. Not much damage in my experience - both when I've gone to salons and at-home chemical products.
Thanks to dot.entity<3