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If your child has a well loved American Girl doll like we do, this tip on How to Fix American Girl Doll Hair could be a life saver!
This post was updated January 2022.
How To Fix American Girl Doll Hair
In our house we LOVE American Girl Dolls. My girls anxiously await their 8th birthday to get their very 1st doll. In the last few years our collection sure has grown.
Sadly for Lily (my oldest’s 1st doll) I knew nothing about American Girl Doll’s hair. I had no idea there was a special wig brush with metal bristles you needed to buy, (the dolls do not have human hair, just remember that). I just let her play. The hair showed it! We decided that once she was ready to put her doll up to save for her own girls, we would send her to the American Girl doll hospital to have her hair fixed (sometimes they replace the doll’s head if the hair is bad enough). She was happy with this solution and it is nice to know that is always an option if all else fails.
A new Doll!
Then my 3rd daughter last year was gifted a beautiful Molly. She LOVES her! Molly hair originally comes in braids held in place with a rubber band and this particular doll is 20+ years old so while she is in wonderful condition her hair was a little dry. Her hair is usually in braids, so we never had a plan to send her in for anything to be done with her hair because we love her just as she is.
One day someone mentioned a quick way to fix their doll’s hair. I was very tempted to try it but also reluctant because the dolls are a lot of money and the easy way isn’t always the best way. I talked to my oldest and we decided since we knew her doll’s hair needed help we would try it out. This probably isn’t necessary for minor problems .
Meet our dolls
Before of cute Molly’s hair – front
After of Molly’s hair – front – doesn’t her hair look SOOOO much better?
Before of Molly’s frizzy hair – back (you can tell it spends a LOT of time in braids).
After of Molly’s hair – back. It looks SO beautiful and smooth again.
Before of Lily’s hair (only have a back shot)
Lily’s hair had also been in a braid for quite a while because of how dry it looked.
After of Lily’s hair – front
My daughter wanted me to try a little curl instead of straight hair (you can use a curling iron on lowest heat, I used the hair straightener), it looks so much better! (To the left there it looks a little dry still in this picture but it all looks much better in real life.)
After of Lily’s hair – back
I think if I had just done her hair straight it would be easier to tell how much smoother it is but take my word for it, it’s SO much better. She had bad hair. Now it’s so cute again. Awesome for the first time .
What I used to Fix American Girl Doll Hair
Now, my review. This does NOT make the dolls hair like new because if you’ve had a new doll you know how that feels. But it does do an amazing job. My daughters were both SO happy with how much better the doll’s hair was. It brought new life into them, I am so happy this worked and it didn’t take 20 hours like some of the things I’ve read.
Now I am sure you’re wondering what I did to make their hair look so pretty again and you’re probably gonna be shocked when I tell you…
A little disclaimer and reminder…
I love this flat iron, I have used one to it’s death and have purchased 2 more since my daughters have all gotten older. It works on all of our hair from super thick to pretty fine. This straightener has settings 1-30, I had it set all the way down to 1 for the American girl doll’s hair. PLEASE if you try this, FIRST THING, turn your straightener down all the way to the lowest setting. Test your doll’s hair with your straightener in the bottom back of the hair 1st to see how it does. I took a small section of hair, tiny sections of the hair really and slowly worked my way from the roots to the ends of the hair. It took a while but was worth it.
(Not all straighteners heat the same which is why I am suggesting you try at the back of the head under piece of the hair 1st. We started with a doll who we knew needed serious help, maybe even a new head. I wouldn’t use this for just a small amount of frizzy doll hair, proceed at your own risk!).
Get a Wig Brush!
Make sure you have an American Girl Doll brush before starting this process, you will want to start at the bottom of the hair and brush the hair really well before straightening. You can also use a spray bottle to lightly dampen the hair with water before straightening. Do not hold the straightener on the hair in one place, you need to use small sections of hair so it’s easy to slide the straightener through the hair without pausing. Because of the low temperature of the straightener you may have to go over the same section of hair multiple times, we recommend not turning up the temperature as you don’t want to melt the hair.
I often see older AG dolls for sale who have hair that is a little rough. My girls want more dolls so we’re always looking for some of the older dolls (one really wants Felicity). Now the dry hair doesn’t have to scare me so much because I can fix American Girl Doll’s hair. And some little girls want a doll but let’s be honest, they’re not cheap so maybe her family can’t afford one. Here’s an option for them to get one too!
If you like this hack on how to fix American Girl doll hair, check out some of our other tips and tricks!
Some people recommend a downy dunk or using liquid fabric softener on their American Girl doll’s hair. This is a discouraged method for a few reasons: 1. Water can easily get in the doll’s eyes, this isn’t great and the doll’s eyes can get stuck if water gets behind them. 2. It’s not the safest thing to use for a children’s toy.
Q. Should I use water on my doll’s hair? A. AG website says to hold the doll’s head firmly and use a spray bottle of water or a misting bottle to lightly mist the hair with just enough water to make it easier to work with.
Q. Does water temperature matter? A. We have heard to use cold water, hot water, warm water, etc…it doesn’t appear to matter according to the AG website just use a little water, don’t drench the hair. UPDATE – a former AG employee reached out and recommended using cold or luke warm water as hot water can remove the curl/wave of the hair.
Q. Should I use an American girl brush or hair picks? A. For wavy hair or straight hair use a wire wig brush. For curly hair or textured hair use the hair pick.
Q. Can I use a blow dryer on my doll’s hair? A. I would not recommend it, it is not human hair and you run the risk of melting the hair or the hard plastic of the doll.
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