If you do the BS wash, it shouldn't smell bad at all. Some people like to add oils to it to make it smell like something else, and for their health values, but you don't need to add any
Sorry I didn't check first, but it can absolutely depend on what you're washing with, too. Some shampoos (especially organic ones, tend to have too many conditioners. And if you're using the BS/ACV wash, ACV tends to make your hair oily. Oily hair means your scalp is too acidic. ACV is an acid, and will promote this. cut back on the ACV until your hair is not oily after a few washes, then check back and we can help you reintroduce it slowly.
Also, as your hair changes, there is a period where it needs to acclimate to forming locks. Not everyone goes through this. But many do. Let us know how your washing, and we can help more
Look at it this way, Eagle never tightened his roots. Look how long his locks are. If your roots didn't tighten on their own, he'd have 5 inches of locked hair at the tips, and 20 feet of straight hair behind it. I didn't tighten my roots, either. I'd have 4-5 inches of locks, and 3-4 feet of straight hair. But since neither of us is in this situation, you can say 100% for sure that your roots will knot up on their own.
All of that loose hair around your roots is what does it, too. As your hair grows out, it gets snagged on those loose hairs and tangles, forming knots, thickening up your locks, and tying them to new hairs.
The pink salt is awesome. I used to a bunch of times, and it worked wonders on the few baby locks I've got forming on the top of my head. Definitely worth trying out.
The wool hoodie is fine. It won't hurt, at least. Some people see wool help them a lot. I didn't see any real difference. But it can't hurt. if you wrap your head in it, it'll promote a huge tangled mess, though, that you'll probably have to spend more time separating. If you wear it as a normal hoodie, with the hood up, I'd bet that the hood falls off while you sleep, so it won't make a difference if you wear it or not. Some people use them as pillow cases, which probably works best.
I use warm-hot water before I touch my head with soap. This helps open up your pores, so you can clean out dirt easier. Then, lather up, rinse with luk warm water, and do a cold rinse at the end. This soothes your pores, and helps close them up so you won't get oily and itchy later.
But like everyone said, it's probably just the length. 4 inches is a little short to see knotting. You will see sectioning, which you are, since you mentioned "grouping". That's prefect. It's exactly what your locks should be doing at this stage. Just give it more time. When you wash, it may undo itself a little. But again, that's normal. Even people with longer hair see this sectioning undo itself with washing, sometimes
There are teachers with locks. it might be a little harder to find the perfect job you really want, just because teachers are expected to look more conservative. But it's not unheard of. My wife worked at a charter school (I know, she hates charters as much as most every other teacher). And they had younger teachers with mohawks, visible tats, and funny coloured hair. So don't think it's impossible.
As for modeling, like Eagle said, we've got a few members who are models. You might want to find a more alternative agency, but you can do it. I've seen models for Urban Outfitters with locks.
I've got a video on my page showing how to rip locks apart. The sound my freak you out, but if done correctly, it doesn't hurt your locks. The most important thing to know is NEVER EVER rip them all the way to the scalp. Just rip until they don't rip easily anymore. After that, let them be. If they still look like they are connected at the roots, that's fine. They should be
Rip them apart, unless you want a super fat lock. I love them, personally. I've got a bunch of locks that are mad of at lest 3-7 other locks congoed together. But fat locks take more care to wash and dry. They hold moisture longer and can cause mold issues if you're not careful.
Neutrogena makes an anti-residue shampoo. I don't think all of them are. But most contain SLS or SDS which are detergents. They do help remove buildup. But something labled as "anti-residue", or "clarifying" will be better to clean it all out.
That buildup is undissolved minerals in your water. BS is a salt. It needs to dissolve in the water. But because your water already has so much mineral in it, there is no room for the BS to dissolve completely. This leads to you having that buildup in your hair. Boiling your water and adding the BS while hot will help a bit. But probably not enough if your water is that hard.
The more you wear your hair up or back, the more it slows down the progress. The headband is probably the least harmful. Bobby pins, and clips will have the greatest chance of ripping hairs and thinning out the locks at those spots. The headbands, if tight, will slow the process, and may cause some locks to start growing in flatter than you might like but as the get longer and older, they will round out.
A tam would be your best bet. Bandannas, if tied loosely, are good too