Personally, I always prefer DE’s. SE’s lie flatter to the head, but as long as they are not super thick or stiff, DE’s will settle down flat after one night of sleeping on them!
For natural looking dreads, there are various different methods other than twisting and steaming that you can look into - these include simply backcombing and palm rolling the dread over and over to create a smooth natural look, then sealing by hanging them on a line and pouring boiling water over them, as they cool, continue to palm roll. Effects and tutorial by post-modernist trash can be seen here.
The best way to get your dreads to look natural, even when they are not is to make sure your hair colour matches well and you do a nice neat install. If you have longer hair, learning to do blanket braid is a great way to go, I recently learnt myself using docloc’s video and it is so easy.
Oh! And I have a pretty decent side cut… How many jumbo braids do you think I’d need to purchase? And do you know how long the curl/wave with stay in the dreads? Sorry about all the questions!
Curling natural dreads is a little harder than normal twists, so if you experiment to get a hybrid of the two, twisted but lightly sealed, it should help with this! You could always make a normal twist set, then throw them in a pillow bag and put them on a hot wash in the washing machine- they will all matt together in a ball and pulling them apart will make them battered and more natural looking.(curl after this)
Sleeping on dreads is also the greatest way to get your install to look less fake, once you have done so for a couple of days, your hair will start to fuzz a little and your install will not be so clean and obvious- this will also help with wearing them up or down!
Part installs are easy enough, just install where you want! Make sure not to leave tiny sections of hair between since it’ll be really hard to brush and maintain the hair not in the dreads.
Curl wise, unless the dreads are very natural and loose, or the wave is barely there, your curl or wave shouldnt drop very much at all. They all drop a little over time, but not enough to be horribly noticeable.