Well I’d like to say Hi, and welcome you on your journey, however you’ve chosen to start. I did mess with a few of my freeform locks a few years ago and quickly regretted it. Let me say, dreads should not hurt, minus the separating part and even that isn’t anything to snuff at after the first few months; for me anyways. The worst of separating was nothing compared to the month or so of constant pulling at my scalp (and SORES!) from pulling hairs through and creating tension at my escaló. I brushed out my rip and twist ones after a month because I could not handle the pain and pulling... All that said. In a few months/years-ish, if you do nothing else but take extensions out and separate you’ll love how your head feels! I use Vicki’s dreadlock shampoo and LOVE it!! I thought tea tree would be my stuff but it turns out I LOVE activated charcoal, patchouli, and dragons blood- smells AMAZING, I haven’t tried it yet ( one of the kids hid it from me- BUT I found it. Lol). Welcome. Send pictures !