Most dolls have nylon hair. Nylon hair cannot be heat styled using blow dryers, curling irons or straightening combs. Human hair products like gel, mouse and hairspray are also ineffective. They tend to coat the hair in a whitish glaze and look more like a thin glue than a hair styling product.
The preferred choice of people who style nylon hair is something called a boil perm. When styling nylon hair, boiling water can be used to straigten hair or make it curly. A boil perm will stay in a doll’s hair through many trips to the swimming pool. It will be compromised however, in a hot bath. While creating tiny twirl hair do is time intensive, if handled with some care, it will not ever have to be done again.
I found this really interesting tutorial on how to change the texture of any barbie dolls hair. I went back and forth debating if I would post this or not. Love it or Hate it, here it is…This tutorial details the steps for giving a straight-haired doll a curly style that approximates the tiny twirls of hair that are associated with African-diasporan people all over the world. The curly of African hair is said to the be “the only perfect circle in nature.”
If you starting with a curly-headed doll and want to make the curls tighter, band the hair and dip it into boiling water for ten seconds to get it straight before starting this process. Straight hair is a better starting point for this process.
Once the hair is straightened take a good look at how the hair is rooted on the head. Generally doll manufucturers root the hair much more closely and thickly along the front hairline (across the forehead and along the back hairline – where it would show if hte hair were in a single ponytail. If the doll’s hair was origially styled with a part, the hair along the part line will also be rooted better than other areas of the scalp.
Because of this rooting pattern, it is not possible to braid the hair into intricate patterns like those seen on human heads. You are limited because of the rooting pattern – which is very sparse in the middle areas of the scalp. A person interested in changing this rooting pattern actually add hair to the scalp. For most people however, observing the root pattern is enough as they will then know more about what hairstyles are going to work best for the doll.
Once you have the doll’s hair combed out and fairly straight, cut pipecleaners in half and fold into “V” shapes. To cut the pipecleaners you can use wire cutters or scissors. Needle-nose pliers almost always come with a built in wire cutter. Household scissors can be used but cutting wire will dull the blades so try to use the back of the blades so that the scissors can continue to be used effectively for paper and other materials.
You will section off the hair, twirl it and then do a zig-zag pattern onto the pipe-cleaners. The size of the section will dictate the tightness of the final curl pattern. The more patience you are able to marshall during the pipe-cleaner wrapping process, the better the style will come out. It is important to keep the twirl of the hair tight all the way from the roots to the ends. So after beginning the zig-zag of each section, pause to twirl the hair as many times as needed to keep the twirl tight.
The overall process is as follows:
1) Section off a bit of hair.
2) Twirl it tightly.
3) Pace the pipe-cleaners “bend” against the “scalp” of the doll and zig-zag the hair up the pipe-cleaner until you run out hair.
4) Twist the ends of the pipe-cleaner to lock the hair onto the pipe-cleaner.
5) Use the ends of the pipe-cleaner to attach the pipe-cleaner to other hair sections – to keep the hair out of your way as you work on other sections.
When all the hair has been put onto pipe-cleaners you may want to style the hair so that the curls fall in a certain way across the head. In other words, if you want the curls to fall onto the forehead, arrage the pipecleaners so that they are pointed down onto the forehead and held there. If you want the hair to fall open across the original part, arrange the pipecleaners so that they are open at the part.
Remove the pipecleaners from the hair. Cut stray hairs as necessary and feel free to cut the “V” end of the pipecleaner if it helps release the hair. If you like the look of the hair once it has been removed from the pipe-cleaners, you needn’t ever brush out the curls.
Now lets see this on a barbie…
Tutorial & Photo Credit: http://beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com