Tip Rubbing Dreadlocks
Tip rubbing is done to create knots in the loose hair at the tips of your dreadlocks. If you're following my advice you'll have rubber bands on the tips of your dreads right up until it's time to pull the tips into the ends of the dreads and make "blunt" or rounded tips.
You won't really need to keep the tips knotted when you have a rubber band holding it. You might do so just to make it look a bit more dread-like, but since the band is holding is securely the dread should be fine either way.
So, the two times when you might use tip rubbing would be, first, if you have just taken the bands of your roots and you're about to pull the loose hair into the dread. It's good to knot up the loose hair as much as possible before you pull it in so some tip rubbing would come in handy. The other time that it might be used is if you decided against using bands at the tips or didn't have them available? In which case you are tip rubbing regularly, hoping that your tips will stay knotted long enough to lock up. In thicker dreads this may work. In thin dreads....best of lock with that =] I think you'll find that the tips in thinner dreads will unravel rather quickly again and again, long before they lock. The solution of course is to pull the loose hair way up into the end of the dread with a loose hair tool, where it will stay put.
Tip rubbing is super easy but it is one of those things that requires a bit of practice before you're really proficient. It's also one of those things that only works if the hair is prepped properly so make sure you've followed the tips for getting the hair ready for "A" week knotting type stuff.
To tip rub a dreadlock you'll want to grab the dread between your thumb and forefinger at the point that the dread transitions from knotted hair to loose hair. Ideally this will leave you with about an inch or so of loose hair to make knots in sticking out beyond your thumb and finger. A little more or less is ok too.
Lightly press this loose hair into the palm of your other hand and rub it around in circles. Either direction is fine but you always want to be consistent. I usually go clockwise because that's easy to remember.
After 30-40 seconds of rubbing you should start to see some pretty good knots developing. Often the hair at the very end will flair out as well. When it does you can move your grip closer to the tip and rub some more. You'll get faster results with practice and with good prepping of the hair. A dash of lock pepper in the palm of the hand you're rubbing in will cause knots almost immediately. It's really pretty awesome to see.
If you're pulling the tip up into the dread you don't want to have a the tip knotted too tightly. It will actually be easiest to pull in and lock the fastest if it's knotty but the knots are knot compressed and tight yet. That way they can compress and tighten after they've been pulled up into the dread and they will lock around other hair inside the dread.
After things are good and knotty you can use your loose hair tool to pull the knotted hair up into the dread where it can lock with other knotted hair and create a solid rounded tip that will last.