Hmm.. well if your hair has only been locking for a month, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
It’s great that in the past you’ve been able to freeform so quickly, but I think the fact that your roots are loose but your ends are locked doesn’t give the roots enough wiggle-room to lock themselves in such a short amount of time.
Your freeform locks had the full length of your hair to move and tangle, so that is probably why they locked a bit more successfully than your roots are locking now.
Having 2 inches of loose roots is normal, but more than than may become a bit of a problem.
Manually started locks do tend to loosen themselves and re-tighten as they please, so this could just be part of your locking process.
The way I see it, you have a couple options:
1- Use a maintenance technique to manually tighten your roots. This could be something as minimal as root rubbing, or something a bit more “invasive” like crochet hooking. You can learn more about your maintenance options on our maintenance page: http://dreadlockinfo.com/maintenance
2- Give them time. Your locks have only been there for one month, so they won’t be perfect. If your roots are still very loose at 3 months, you might want to re-consider maintenance or other options.
3- Brush them out one at a time and redo them. Perhaps you just need a tighter setup. As you know, though, people can freeform from totally brushable hair to fully locked hair. So your loose setup will of course become fully formed dreads eventually. However, if you want a tighter setup, brushing them out and redoing them more tightly might be a better option for you.
I hope one of these ideas helps you out!
Also, conditioner is not totally evil for locks. Sometimes folks with straighter hair do find that their locks feel dry at 3 or 6 months down the road. At that point, it is totally appropriate to do a quick rinse of conditioner or other moisturizing agent appropriate for human hair.
At the start, of course, you won’t want to use a detangling agent on your locks, but later on it is perfectly okay if you find your hair is feeling too dry.
Also, check out my video on how and why I believe roots lock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG9kiNMOZhQ
It may help you to feel better about your roots now.
Have a nice day!