That said, the easiest way to keep your hair gorgeous and a thing of pride, aside from finding the cut and color you love, is to take care of your hair. Don't kill it with heat, product, and chemicals. Wear it au naturel, whatever that is for you: curly, kinky, stick straight,whatever. The quickest way to fry your hair is to use heat and chemicals to make it what it's not.
Black women: rock that 'fro, dreads, or braids; you don't need weave and straighteners. Please, ladies, I'm tired of seeing hair teased and tortured into something it's not. Go natural. I realize it takes effort and time, more than weave, possibly, but I encourage you to step up and stand out for what is right for your hair and for your culture.
Curly and wavy haired gals, from tight ringlets to loosely curled: don't straighten it. I've known entirely too many straight haired gals (I was one) that would kill to keep a curl in their hair. I realize this takes time and effort, and a short cut on an extremely curly haired girl can go horribly wrong. But, if you can take the time and effort to find a good hairdresser and/ or brush it out right, you will look damn hot, without fried hair.
Stick straight haired girls, my sisters who can't keep a curl even if they want to: let it be. A curtain of stick straight hair is absolutely just as gorgeous as a 'fro, bouncy hair, or a wavy mane. Don't attack it with a curling iron when it won't stay anyways. Rock it!
This all said, if you truly feel better in a style of hair that isn't your natural texture or color, find a way to do it with as little damage to the hair as possible. Frizzy, fried out hair, no matter it's length or cut, is not sexy or good looking. It's truly akin to skankyho hair. Try demipermanent hair color instead of permanent, if you can. Try a less harsh relaxer. See if there's a perm that'll take the heating elements out of your routine (no, not all perms make you look like an '80s reject.) Healthy hair looks a million times better than heated into a fried mess hair.
A special message to my chicas who have lost their hair for some reason (chemo, alopecia, etc.): Ditch the wigs and bandanas (unless you need the coverage against the sun.) Rock the bald look. Make it your own. Have fun with markers and waterbased paints. When people ask and stare, stare back and say "this is me, are you brave enough to do it?"