In their simplest and original states, dreadlocks are essentially hair that has formed matted coils and does not fall out naturally because of being tangled with living hairs. There are a few categories of dreadlock styles, though there are many individual twists on each one. The natural or organic dreadlock style involves doing nothing except letting the hair form dreadlocks. Other styles revolve around aiding the hair to coil and form dreadlocks in certain ways by hand or using chemicals to achieve a dread perm. Some people even use synthetic or natural hair extensions to create original or natural-looking dreadlocks.
Some dreadlock styles are referred to as organic because no chemicals or aggressive tools were used to force a person’s hair into forming them. One important aspect of developing free-form dreadlocks is frequent washing, as this encourages the hair to mat together. It is often also considered important to not do anything but let the hair air dry if it is wet and not manipulate it other than by patting it down when it is dry. Hair that naturally tangles, curls, or rolls itself together usually forms dreadlocks the easiest. Straighter hair can still form dreadlock styles, but it may take much longer to form naturally than hair that is more naturally inclined.
When someone wants to form dreadlocks more quickly or in a specific or uniform way, he or she might choose a cultivated dreadlock style. Tools, hands, or braids can be used to start a dreadlock or even form an entire lock or braid that will then be continued naturally. Other people sometimes choose to take cultivation to the extreme and get a dread perm. With a dread perm, chemicals are applied to the hair that make it bond to itself more easily, after which the dreadlocks are usually formed manually. Dread perms are often expensive and time consuming to keep up.
Some people choose to wear synthetic dreadlocks, otherwise known as cyberdreads or dread extensions. Synthetic dreadlocks can consist of many different materials, from beads and synthetic hair all the way to tubing made from a horsehair fabric. This style is often chosen by people who value the unique look or want to fit in with some subcultures. Synthetic dreadlocks may also be the chosen dreadlock style of people who want to wear dreadlocks but do not want to have them all the time and deal with the maintenance concerns. While there are many synthetic dreadlock styles that look completely unnatural, some look and feel quite natural.