Make Knots & Fix Loose Hair in your Dreadlocks
Before you start Fixing Loose hair in your dreadlocks you should be down with the "A" Week and know how to prep your hair for "A" Week activities like Clockwise Rubbing and Dread Balling. With that stuff understood it will be easy to fix your loose hair. So, for best results, make sure you've already read about the A-B Maintenance Routine and the "A" Week before you work on loose hair.
With an understanding of how hair can be make to knot readily with the "A" Week environment you'll have no problems fixing loose hair anywhere in the dread.
There are three main zones or areas that you can have loose hair on a dreadlocks. The Roots, The Tips and The Body of the dread. The techniques you'll use will vary depending on which area you're working on. Loose hair at the roots is the most common so we'll start there...
Loose Hair at the Roots of your Dreadlocks
As your hair sheds it's constantly being replaced by new hair strands. Some of these will make it into the dread above them without any help from you. Others will not.
Clockwise rubbing can be used to keep your dreads knotting near the scalp. The closer you are able to keep the knots to your scalp, the easier it will be for new growth to find it's way into your dreads.
When hair doesn't find it's way into the dread it becomes "loose" hair. Loose hair is normal, you'll always have some, but it's good to pull loose hair into the roots as often as you can. Loose hair not only makes the dreads look messy but it tends to connect dreads and helps them grow together. When you accumulate a lot of loose hair it becomes more difficult to figure out which dread the loose hair should go in. It can get overwhelming if you let it go. When things get out of hand you'll have more of a tendency to "just put it anywhere" and this will begin to mix hair between dreads and that will lead to more loose hair when you rip them apart later on.
It's always better if you can take care of it sooner rather than later - especially if you are going for "clean" looking dreadlocks. Fortunately it's not hard to take care of loose hair at the roots. Here's a dreadlocks maintenance video that shows you how it's done: Fix Loose Hair at the Roots of your Dreadlocks
Always take care to put loose hair in the smaller of two dreads if it is right on the line and could go in either one. Loose hair is often right on the section line so this practice makes a real difference over time. It helps counter the tendency for larger dreads to "eat" hair from surrounding smaller dreads.
Loose hair on the body of your dreadlocks is less of a problem than loose hair at the roots. It gets better over time rather than worse - even if you don't attend to it. If you do give it some attention you can pull a lot of it into the dread and make them look much smoother but it's important to note that all dreads have loose hair sticking off the surface. It's more noticeable with straight hair types but it's always present. The only times you see dreads that look completely smooth is with highly textured hair types where the hair curls back into the dread and with large older dreads where the hair has broken off over time leaving behind a surface made up of tiny hair ends. (this usually takes 4 to 5 years)
Short of waiting for that to occur you can take some steps to reduce the hair on the surface of the dread. As the dreads lock during the first few months you shouldn't worry too much about this hair on the surface. Much of the shorter hair will get worked into the dread as you palm roll. As the dread continues to shrink, compress and tighten this hair will get locked in place.
Longer hair on the surface will generally not "work it's way in". You'll need to manually pull it in with a Loose hair tool or a Lock Sculpta. Both of these tools to a great job, the Loose Hair Tool is favored for larger bunches of loose hair that need to go in the same place in the dread and the Lock Sculpta is quicker when the hair is spread out over the surface and only a couple hairs can be pulled in at the same time. [Video Comming Soon]
Loose Hair at the Tips of your Dreadlocks
When you first start your dreadlocks you should have rubber bands at the tips of each dreadlock. This prevents knots from leaking out of the body of the dread and causing the body to loosen. Please read each of the articles on wearing rubber bands the right way before adding bands, this will ensure you get the desired results. =] While you have the bands on you'll have some loose hair that sticks out beyond the band. This is normal. Some people trim it off but it's better to keep it. Try wrapping the bands around it in such away that it looks decent and forget about it at least until the end of the first month. Usually during the second or third month they body of the dread, just above the rubber band will tighten enough that it can hold the loose hair when you pull it up into the dread with a loose hair tool and make round tips on your dreadlocks. More info on when to remove the bands at the tips can be found in this faq article about wearing bands at the tips which you may have seen if you followed the link to the three rubber bands articles above.