Mine shrunk ridiculously too! When I started my hair was as long as my dreads are now and they shrunk up to my ears! Check out my 3 year timeline. It was a tough stage. Be patient and try not to worry about them and let them do their thing and it will all be ok. Stay away from the salon!
i would just keep pulling apart the sections you want. i would definitely let them get thicker than those small ones you see at the top. the smaller ones will break easier. seriously once you just let them go and quit worrying about them they will be awesome. i used to worry about mine a lot and now just let them go. maybe keep the bigger ones from congoing and wash them, thats about it.
Clean hair dreads faster. Get the dreadlockshampoo.com soap and don't worry about washing your locs. Just wash them when you feel they need to be cleaned. I wash twice a week because my scalp can't go more than 3-4 days without it. Maybe if i didn't work out and sweat i could go for a few more days.