How to Recondition Doll Hair

Your daughter loves her doll. Wherever your daughter goes, the doll is in her arms. They climb monkey bars, play hide-and-seek, and take naps in the sunshine. So it is no surprise when your daughter brings her doll inside the house with wild, tangled hair and asks you to fix her. You look at this doll with hair dull and matted beyond recognition and wonder if it will ever be soft and shiny again. Yes, you can repair this doll hair disaster. Here is an easy method to recondition doll hair.

Gather your conditioning tools. You will need a spray bottle, distilled water, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, baby oil, a doll brush, doll comb, doll stand, towels, and a hand towel or doll styling cape. The right brushes and combs are the type with metal tines, made for wigs. You can find doll brushes, combs, stands, and styling capes at doll specialty shops and on-line.If you have soft water, tap water is fine. However, hard water and well water can leave a film on doll hair and contribute to tangles. Use distilled water if you have hard city water or well water.You may only need conditioner and leave-in conditioner to recondition the doll hair. The baby oil is an extra conditioning step if normal conditioning does not work. Doll specialty shops carry special conditioners and shampoos that are safe for doll hair. You can also use gentle, moisturizing conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and shampoos designed for people.

Wrap a hand towel or doll styling cape around your doll’s body to keep it dry. Examine the doll’s hair. Does it need washing? If not, go to step three. If washing is necessary, follow these instructions – Finger comb the big tangles out of the hair as much as possible. Take her to the sink and lay her on a clean towel. Wet her hair in lukewarm water under the faucet. Pour a small amount of gentle, moisturizing shampoo and apply it to her hair. Rinse thoroughly in cool water. Sit the doll on a towel and wrap a clean towel around her hair and gently press the excess water out. If you have hard water or well water, follow the instructions in step three for the use of distilled water. If you washed with soft water, go to step four.

Wet the doll’s hair with distilled water until saturated. You can use a spray bottle or pour it on the doll’s head over a sink. If you have soft water, you can skip the distilled water and wet the doll’s hair with tap water. (Remember that the doll’s body should still be covered in a hand towel or styling cape.) Place the doll on a towel and blot out excess water with a clean towel. Hair should be soaking wet but not dripping.

Divide the doll’s hair into six sections. Finger comb the first section. Pour a generous amount of conditioner into your palm and smooth it into the section of hair. Repeat this on all six sections. Let the conditioner sit on the doll’s hair for 30 minutes. If you used a doll conditioner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how long to leave on the product. Rinse thoroughly with distilled water or soft tap water

Wrap the doll’s hair in a clean towel to remove excess water. Do not wring, rub, or squeeze the hair dry because it may cause damage and tangles.

Put the doll in a doll stand to hold her upright. Finger comb her hair into six sections. Spray leave-in conditioner onto the first section. Take a comb and work out the tangles starting at the ends and work your way toward the roots. Follow the same technique with a brush after the comb removes the biggest tangles. Once the hair is free of tangles, complete a full brush stroke from roots to ends. Repeat on each section. When all tangles are removed, you can brush the doll’s hair normally.

Let the doll’s hair hang loose and dry overnight. Keep doll in the stand to hold her upright.

When the doll’s hair is dry, it should look silky, smooth and free of tangles. If the hair is still a bit dull or feels a little dry, baby oil can give it more sheen and softness. Pour a tiny amount of baby oil in your palm. Rub hands together and spread a thin layer of the oil into the doll’s hair. A little goes a long way, so do not use too much. Brush the hair to fully distribute the oil. The doll should now have beautiful, shiny, soft hair. Your daughter will be pleased.


Keep the doll’s hair braided to prevent tangles. Braids hold up to rough play. Brush the doll’s hair daily. Add a little leave-in conditioner whenever the doll’s hair feels a little dry, looks dull, or has tangles. If you have well water, use distilled water for all washing and conditioning of the doll's hair. The distilled water will help keep the doll's hair shiny and soft.

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