Attempting to straighten doll hair

Every year or so, I browse around the doll restoration circuit to see if there are any break through new hair detangling methods. There aren’t new ones, but the old standbys look so good, I am inspired to try again, though I have tried and failed many times in the past. This is my latest try.

Left to right: Winx Club Bloom, Barbie Nikki, Disney Rapunzel, Disney VIP Rocky Blue, Moxie Girl, and Banana Surprise.

These are dolls (and a pony) I’m trying to improve the look of. They have had their hair treated with fabric softener and combed, but there is a lot of frizz left. I poured the (unscented, because otherwise you will have a sickly sweet odor to deal with, which is too much for me) fabric softener in a bowl, let the hair get saturated, and then combed out over a sink (to catch droplets). I am trying to replicate the doll hair restorations I have seen that come out silky smooth. Not there yet.

Next I’m going to try the boiling water method. I took a medium pan and filled it 3/4 with water, and waited about 5 years for it to boil (your stovetop may yield different results). I took each doll and pony individually and dipped hair in boiling water for about 5 seconds, then combed out, then repeated about 10 times.

RESULTS OF BOILING WATER

Nikki – this is actually her hair dry after boiling. It is super sticky and greasy! After boiling, I soaked in hydrogen peroxide, then alcohol, then more boiling water, because why not. End result – same. At first I thought it was some kind of styling spray that would wash out, but it is looking like that’s the actual material of the hair.

Jasmine replaced Bloom in the original line-up above. I noticed that repeated dunking in hot water seemed to increase the number of hair plugs pulling out when I combed, so I stopped dunking after 5 times. Result: hair is still frizzy, and I actually liked the texture better before the boiling water – it was smoother. And she has lost quite a bit of hair.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

Rapunzel – I think she uses the same materials as Jasmine, so similar results.

Moxie

Banana Surprise – the least amount of improvement. Not really any change in frizziness.

Rocky Blue came out pretty nice.

 

Overall, with the results I’m getting, it’s worth breaking out the fabric softener to assist with bad tangles, but the boiling water is not doing it for me. There is not as dramatic a change as I’ve seen in tutorials, and I don’t like the resulting texture.

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