(I have African American hair.) Do I have to use a blow dryer before straightening in order to get that EXTREMELY straight look? I honestly have no clue. (Other straightening tips would be amazing, too!)
Then I would put in some sort of quality heat protector.
Afterwards I would blow dry if you wanted to go the extra mile. But this is even more heat, and for me this isn't needed. But until you experiment a few times, you won't know what works best for your hair. (Note: some people do only blowouts, and I've never had this before, but my mom did and the results were fabulous. Just get in there with a brush and guide the hair as you apply the heat.)
After blow drying your hair, I would get a brush and take inch sections. Then follow the brush closely with the straightener. This technique ensures every strand is getting equal heat, and the finish is better with this technique in my experience.
Then I would finish with some type of oil that will add shine, reduce frizz, and moisturize.
I'm black, too, with natural hair that I straighten occasionally. 1. Always wash and detangle it thoroughly before straightening. 2. Always blow dry it before flat-ironing. Smooth a LITTLE oil over it before blow-drying to minimize breakage, but not too much or else it's going to be greasy. 3. Use a quality flat iron. What flat iron you use really does affect how straight it is. 4. At night, wrap it to keep your hair nice and smooth, and avoid putting any products on it while it's straight, as almost all products have water as the first ingredient, and a water-based hair product equals less straight hair.
I totally understand the struggle. Okay so what I do is this: 1) Wash hair + deep condition 2) Put in leave-in-conditioner and a straightening serum (not too much or it will look oily) 3) Dry hair using a blow dryer and a comb, making it straight but poofy 4) Straighten hair with a comb. Like using a regular flat iron put before running the flat iron through your hair, use a fine toothed comb to detangle and separate the strands. I'm not sure if you get what i mean... but here's a vid:
I have super curly hair as well. I normally use a straightening oil that moisturizes and protects my hair. Then I start from the bottom going up in layers so that it is thorough straightening job. I use a comb to go through the section that I am straightening so that the hair doesn't get matted or so you don't get random curly areas. Good luck!