Dude my dreads are loose or FALLING APART! HELP!! - Dreadlocks FAQ's
It's unlikely that every dread is going to lock on the first try when you first start your dreads.
There's a ton of them up there so there's bound to be a few screw-ups.
You know the ones I'm talking about... They don't even qualify as dreads...they have more loose hair than knots! Pathetic. Fortunately the rest look good but we've gotta do something about these and the sooner the better...
Now were not talking about dreads that have some loose hair at the roots or dreads that have one little patch of straight hair...If that's the case you need to read about clockwise rubbing and locking up loose hair in the middle of the dread.
Dreads that really need rebackcombing will be easy to spread apart in your fingers and the hair will look like straight hair in the dread rather than all tangled, knotty and crazy...
Re-backcombing is just like what it sounds. You comb through the dread starting at the roots and working slowly until you get to the tip. You don't have to comb out the dread first but if you're having trouble getting a dread to backcomb tight you should try combing it out. Also dreads that are almost completely straight hair already are probably easier to start from scratch, you'll have to try it and decide. It's all good if they end up tight.
You'll want to wax the dreads after you re-backcomb them. They will take an "initial" serving of wax just like they are new because in reality they are. When you re-backcomb a dread you essentially re-start the dreading process so this is day one. You should maintain it just like a new dread in every way.
Washing is the exception. If you have already started washing your dreads every other day rather than every 2 days there's no reason to switch back. You'll be palm rolling these rebackcombed dreads every day and this will help them stand up to the extra washing. It goes without saying that if you continued to restart your dreads by rebackcombing them they would never mature..I'm going to say it anyway because I've gotten calls from peeps who have had dreads for 6 months that "just won't lock up" and it's because they re-backcomb weekly! Do not rebackcomb repeatedly it is guaranteed to prevent locking.
Since were talking about Dread Wax we also need to mention that you'll want to remove all the wax from these dreads with a hot rinse before you rebackcomb them. Wax helps knots compress and tighten but it does not help you create new knots. Having the hair clean and dry (like you did when you started your dreads) is best.
Before and After Rebackcombing
This pic shows some dreads that needed re-backcombing. You can see how the hair looks a lot like wavy straight hair rather than knotty dreads in the before shot.