Fix Barbies Hair

How to tame doll hair with one simple trick.

I grew up playing with Barbies, but mostly just when friends came over.  I remember my mom spending hours sewing special outfits for my dolls.  The sad thing was, I never really played with them.  Now with two young girls in my house, you would think that I would be sewing the special outfits and tripping over well loved barbies.  It must be genetic because the girls play with them some, but like me only occasionally.  Barbie hair always seems to be out of control.  We set up this simple salon to help fix Barbies hair, and the girls loved it.

Today was a good day to dig out the Barbie collection and play.  Sometimes you just need a holiday to celebrate:)  On March 9, 1959, Barbie (Barbra Millicent Roberts) debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York City.  Who knew Barbie had a full name.  Happy Birthday Barbie.

As you can tell from this poor girls hair, the barbies in our house are in need of some love.  After some quick research on line about how to care for barbie hair, we set up a little salon.

The first step is to brush barbies hair the best that you can.  Then simply “dunk” her hair in really hot water for about 30 seconds and towel dry.

Brush and style your barbies hair.  Once the hair is dry the frizz and snarls will be gone.  OK, it’s not that magical but it will leave your barbies hair looking much, much better.

Much better!

I love how they are all lined up.  Bree is learning how to braid, and a captive audience like this is the perfect time to practice her budding skills.

The barbies look so cute all dressed up and hair done.  Nothing like a trip to the salon to make a birthday special.

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97 thoughts on “Fix Barbies Hair

  1. We brought out our Barbie’s awhile back and gave them all a makeover. My daughter will be 25 in April, but heh, are you ever too old to play Barbie’s?

  2. Great tip and I just love the picture of her captive audience!! The same technique works on American Girl doll hair and similar dolls. You can actually give your dolls a “perm” by braiding or rolling their hair in curlers then dipping the hair in very hot water for 30-45 seconds and then letting it dry completely.

    Have fun playing with your dolls! You are never too old to enjoy it.

      • Mine could certainly use this as well. I have molly, and her hair is ‘textured’ as they say in the american girl store and i wasn’t supposed to take the braids out. Wish me luck!

    • Thank you so much for the tip. I have been wondering what to do with my daughter’s American Girl doll hair for a while

  3. I have also used a very light coat of baby oil on my hands and run it through the washed and combed out hair. It helps the frizz become a nice sheen. Not too heavy or it will never dry! If you found that it was too heavy on the baby oil, you can rinse it in hot water.
    Also, Char mentioned perms. I remember taking bobby pins (our size) and rolling the hair in them. Try not getting a fish-hook at the end or the strand! Now, clip a hot iron onto the end of the bobby pin. (I can’t remember if the hair will melt, but I know it works on the bobby pin) Very carefully un-wind the hair using a circular motion.

  4. You can also create curly hair using the same “dunk in hot water” technique, just wrap hair in foam curlers first, then dunk. I would usually squeeze the excess water out and then let it dry naturally with the curlers in places. Twist hair before wrapping around curler for spiral curls.

  5. You can also use a solution of liquid fabric softener and water in a spritz bottle and it will defrizz and detangle hair on barbies too.

    • I really hope this fabric softener trick works! My daughter just opened an early Christmas present last night and got a Repunzel wig, 1 day later playing after playing with 3 girls, it look horrific! :( I’m so sad! I really really hope this works, because I can’t even get the tangles out to even try the hot water trick! :(

  6. Thank you for this! Princess hair is driving me NUTS right now! I love the multiples of the same princesses… I don’t feel like my daughter’s collection is so bad, lol! (We have at least 3 different Ariels and 5 different Rapunzels!)

  7. I love the pic of your daughter with all the Barbies lined up…reminds me so much of my youngest who’s soon to turn 21!:) And, thanks for the info!!! Good for future salon days with the granddaughters.

  8. I’ve used a hair dryer, if you don’t do it too much it is much better. No frizz at all! If you do it a lot like when I was young (every day) eventually the hair, IDK, its nor burnt or anything, its just not smooth anymore. But if you do it once a month its fine, the hair smoothes out. On every hair type too, I found a Barbie in a junk bin and fixed her up. she is a old 70s doll.

  9. Jennifer, the hair will melt if you use a curling iron on it for more than a second or two…at least, it did on my Malibu Barbie…

    • Hello. I know you posted this several months ago, but your comment took my attention. I’ve straighten my barbies’ hairs with a hair iron several times, and got good results. But here in Mexico we have an old saying that goes “you learn how to do things right by ruining them first”, so I learned (by burning a beautiful lock of my barbie’s hair) that I must use the iron to its lowest temperature, and also to wait the temperature is completely stabilized, Please note I used a straightening iron. I haven’t tested yet a curly iron. If you want to try the strainghtening iron, do not hold the barbie’s hair too long with it, just slice it gently along a thin lock. Also you should test your iron on an old doll or sinthetic hair that you wouldn’t miss later. Always try first the lowest temperature, perhaps it will work for you. Blessings!

  10. No one is ever too old to play with Barbies. A few years back someone gave me a Halloween Barbie and I find brushing her hair very calming, strange as that may sound… ;)

    • I TRY TO BUY ALL LITTLE DOLLS AT GARAGE SALES AND CLEAN THEM UP AND DISPLAY THEM. JUST BOUGHT TWO BARBIES AND AT LEAST 7 OTHER LITTLE DOLLIES THAT HAVE HAIR. I LOVE PLAYING WITH THEM BY FIXING THEIR HAIR.
      THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. ENJOY YOUR BARBIES.

  11. Thank you for posting this, my friends with little girls will be VERY pleased!!! LOVE your daughter’s Barbies lined up so cute

  12. I learned how to french braid on a Barbie and plan to learn how to do the waterfall
    braid on a Barbie!! Thanks for the tip…my grandaughters Barbies could use some luvin!

  13. Pingback: Dailykid » Sistemare i capelli crespi delle Barbie

  14. The picture of the Barbies all lined up is awesome! Definitely needed this tip since I have Barbies from when I was a little girl. Thank you.

  15. It would be nice if you bought your daughter more dolls of various other ethnicities besides just white barbies.

        • That’s what I was thinking too, there’s always that one who leaves a sorry comment that has nothing to do with the post. On another note, luckily my daughter hasn’t frizzed her barbies yet. I will definitely do this with her ponies, they were ” hand me downs” from friends of mine so their hair is in terrible shape.

    • Completely not necessary. Don’t force your racial issues on a child. KIDS LOVE EVERYONE until told there is another option. So unfortunate.

      • REALLY???? GROW UP!!!! My daughter has all my old barbies and GUESS WHAT…They were all Barbie..blonde hair blue eyed Barbie…why? because i had blonde hair blue eyes as a child… that’s what I related to… keep your ignorant comments to yourself…K? thanks

    • Is that comment really necessary. I’m guessing by your comment that you are anything other than white…do you buy your children white dolls so they can be more diverse, or does it not work that way? Are white people the only ones that need to be more open-minded? I think you are very prejudice. Stupid comment better kept to yourself.

    • This is such a sweet and helpful post without you having to go THERE. Seriously?!! WHO CARES?!!! My daughter plays with Barbie and Monster High dolls. Several of the MH dolls are blue and green colored. Is that better???

  16. Really? I’m guessing she has white dolls because that’s who she identifies with. I think it’s ridiculous that some people think that everyone should appeal to the masses in the privacy of their own homes. For pete’s sake, she’s a CHILD, let her play with what she likes!

  17. I’m so happy to have found your site on Pinterest! I have a beloved wedding Barbie that my mom and uncle gave me when I got married. She sewed the doll a wedding dress that matched mine. :) Thanks for sharing the tips on how to fix her hair! I’m also going to add this post to my Squidoo lens on my wedding Barbie.

  18. I wash their hair with dish soap then dunk it in 1/4 cup of fabric softener and 1 cup water mixed. I then comb it out, roll it in tiny perm rods and dunk in boiling water. When it’s dry it is beautiful. So easy. My girls love to help. Works great on their baby doll hair as well.

  19. If you have a “Soap Scum Barbie”, like I had as a kid, or my daughter had as a kid, you can try using white vinegar to remove the soap first. It takes a little elbow grease, but synthetic hair doesn’t actually like bar soap. Fabric softener can remove it as well, but it also has chemicals that will continue to wipe off of the doll and onto the kids hands, which can end up in little mouths. I also prefer to use pure coconut oil instead of baby oil which is a very common allergen. (It makes the hair very shiny, and makes it smell fantastic, and is amazing in mommy’s hair, and daughter’s as well! Find it in the natural food area if the grocery store, cheap, and healthy!)

  20. Just read this as I LOVED to style my barbie’s hair as a little one – but unfortunately, they were never a success! Thanks for posting this. I pray that should I have little girls one day, they will not grow up too fast like all little girls seem to these days, and will love to play with barbies so that I can make it up to barbie with my new found styling skills :)
    I also just wanted to add something – you can probably make something just as good with fabric conditioner, but in the past I have bought wigs for acting jobs that were really high grade synthetic hair. At the wig shops, they sold me a maintenance product for use SPECIFICALLY on man-made hair, that I have found a godsend when dealing with all manner of synthetic extensions and pieces. It’s worth bearing in mind for Barbie, too. It’s by Trendco, the range is ‘T-Range Fiber’ and the product is ‘Soften ‘N’ Sheen Conditioner’. It’s a leave in spray to prevent frizzing of acrylic fibers. It would be worth so much agony to spritz barbie with it gently before little miss hair stylist goes to town on prettifying the poor doll. I wish I’d had it then, it would have saved my mother a world of heartache of seeing me trying to fix barbie’s rubbish hair! Another tip I literally just thought of it ironing the hair – but you have to do it with a very low iron AND the hair underneath a folded tea towel so that it does not make contact with the hair. I’ve done this to synthetic wigs before to get a real straight look – the real trick is to hold it at the right angle so that you don’t have straight hair sticking up! Takes a bit of practice but totally worth it. Hope someone finds that of some use, anyway!
    x C

  21. Pingback: That’s A Wrap | The Hidden List

  22. I found this post through someone’s pin, and I have to say I’m somewhat concerned about the message this sends to children. Shouldn’t we teach them that all hair types are beautiful? What’s wrong with this Barbie’s natural “fro?” Do we want our kids to think that only perfectly straight, glossy hair is pretty?

    I hope you’re still reading and not sticking pins in some voodoo doll of a “blog troll” that’s meant to represent me…because I’m totally joking. I think this is BRILLIANT!! LOL! When I was a kid I used to “flat iron” my Barbies’ hair with my mom’s clothes iron. Needless to say, that didn’t go so well. I ended up with a bunch of melted Barbie heads and my mom got a few stinky, ruined irons. She was pretty pissed. If only I had known this hot water trick back then!

    Oh, and I also once tried to build a Barbie-doll swimming pool out of a piece of plastic, some scotch tape and some rectangular styrofoam chunks that our very first microwave came packaged in. I didn’t figure in the fact that the scotch tape wouldn’t stick once it got wet. I ended up spilling the entire contents of the “pool” all over my bedroom floor, and the water then leaked through the dining room ceiling below, dripping on the heads of the excited neighbors that had come by to see our new microwave (hey, this was the ’80s.) My parents ended up ripping out my carpet, and I wasn’t allowed to get a new one for about 10 years.

    Anyhoo, I think your Barbie hair tip has inspired a blog post! I’m a bit behind on my blog…I’m a humor blogger, and we’ve had a lot of crap going on lately, and I just haven’t been able to summon up the “funny,” but I’m starting to feel inspired! If I post about my Barbie pool disaster, I’ll link back to your awesome hair tip! :-)

    It’s nice to meet you…I’m heading over to follow you on Facebook, etc… Have a great day!
    Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood

  23. I was glad to see someone besides me had Barbie Hail issues. I bought some vintage barbies with really bad hair but as I need so many i am always looking for the bargin. I make vintage clothes for Barbie. Anyway I was told that if i use cream rinse on their hair they would look great. I just simply shampooed them and it was amazing the difference.

  24. Mix fabric softener and water together!! It’s works great!! Next time intru I will this same method just heat the softener/water mixture after stirring.

  25. I think it is common to give girls dolls that look like them. I have Stacey and I’m sure I recieved her because she had hair the same kind of titian color as mine. But I’m for giving kids what they want to play with, doll wise.
    I need to remove the frizz from the pin curl on a vinatge doll. I hope the hot water will work. I ruined a doll and an iron too when I was a child. My teenage sister used to iron her hair on the ironing board. It was the 1960s afterall Thanks for the info!

  26. We never had this problem as kids, but I think that had a lot to do with Barbies being a preferred bathtub toy growing up.

  27. Pingback: Fix Frizzy Hair « Butterfly Kisses

  28. When I was little I hated how my Barbie’s hair looked after a while. Especially because I usually took them in the bathtub with me. I liked how the hair looked underwater, but the hair certainly didn’t like it. They frizzed like crazy after a while and lost part of their shine and smoothness.
    A trick I had tried back then was a cheap hairspray (my mother had it but never used hairspray, sooo….). I sprayed the doll’s dry hair thoroughly untill it was wet from spraying it and then brushed and brushed till it was dry and all the hairs were separated. It trully worked wonders, made the hair very shiny and very soft and smooth. I must say, though, that it didn’t work so impressively for all dolls. It certainly made them look better though.

      • I loved taking a bath with my barbies. It was a giant pool. And yeah the hair looked cool under water but wa always awful after it came out. i even had a barbie with a bun because her hair was beyond repair. I am going to try this on a baby doll I have. She was used to practice bathing babies in a high school where I taught. Her hair is NOT like a babies. But she served her purpose.Now I want to fix her hair

  29. Love your blog. I found that today’s Barbie hair is not the same quality as those I had in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Proof is I dug out my Barbies which I played with all the time and their hair is still in better shape. My daughter now prefers my dolls. My neighbor also pulled out a brand new, in box, Barbie from 1992 and her hair is highly superior quality as well. I love your trick. For our American Girl doll, we also do a Downey Dunk (google this on YouTube).

  30. You can also use hair conditioner, something almost everyone probably has lying around. Wet the doll’s hair, smear on a drop of conditioner, and comb. Keeps it smooth and tangle free!

  31. Pingback: PinLaVie... Make your pins come true – How to fix frizzy barbie hair

  32. A second on the fabric softener! When I was in beauty college we kept spray bottles of it mixed with water for our doll heads. We had these mannequin heads for practicing various things and the softener worked like a charm. I can’t remember the mix ratio but I know it was mostly water? maybe 50/50 at most.

  33. Pingback: How to fix Barbies unruly hair » Bellamy + Belou

  34. I’ve read all your comments and think I’ll try because my daughter’s Barbies now live in a box under the bed…for the nieces to play with (my granddaughters LOVE to play with their Auntie’s Barbies but the hair is AWFUL.) Just wish my sister had known about the hot water trick 40something years ago when she CUT my vintage Barbie’s hair…thinking it would grow back like people hair does. (our dad was a barber!) Now we’ll start our on BARBIE HAIR SALON! Thanks!

  35. I stopped reading the posts as they are way too many. Remember, doll hair is to be treated as FABRIC, which is why detergents/fabric softeners work better than human hair products. Also ARMORALL original will work well on the worst tangled doll hair.

  36. I used to always give my barbies makeovers when I was little. I would wet the hair, detangle it and set it in rollers…maybe 2 or 3 per doll and let it air dry for a whole day. The hair would be like new! Try it!

  37. Love the post. I’ll bet you saved countless Barbies from bad hair days. FYI- Barbie’s name was actually Barbara Millicent Rogers not Roberts. She was styled after the New York socialite heiress. The original Barbie actually looked a bit like her.
    She was a great patron of the arts.

  38. I found a little miracle called Cowboy Magic. It’s a detangler for horses but does wonderful on doll hair. We’ve used it on Barbies, Disney Princesses and American Girl dolls. It doesn’t
    Get sticky or greasy and the hair looks wonderful. You can get it t any tack store or order it online. A little goes a long way too.

  39. I’m going to have to try this. My daughter keeps calling her one an only Barbie “all wrecked up” because she looks a bit like a hot mess, so she won’t play with her anymore (tear). Maybe this can solve the problem! Thanks!!

  40. Try using a wig brush with this technique (or the 75% water/ 25% fabric softener spray). You can find them at many beauty supply stores, and they are only a couple of dollars – it works SO much better than those plastic combs/brushes that come with dolls!

  41. I pinned this recently as my daughter has a few barbies who need some hair tlc. Then, even more recently, I came across a handful of barbies at a second-hand shop, who also need hair tlc. I bought them, knowing we have the technology to fix! Now they just need some more clothes. :)

  42. Thanks for this tip. I buy a lot of “abused” Barbies at thrift stores for kids for Christmas and take them home & clean them up. Mom makes new clothes for them. This will help with the wild hair.

  43. Ohhhh so thankful for this tip! I’ve played w/Barbie’s (had one of the 1st Barbie’s in 1959) as did my daughters and now my G-daughter. Love sewing clothes for them but there’s nothing worse than a Medusa looking Barbie!

  44. After wetting the barbie’s hair I used a few drops of biosilk silk therapy and morroccan argan dry oil spray on the hair to help detangle, once it was smooth I used a few drops of olive oil to leave a coating on Barb’s hair to help prevent future tangles. It was a little time consuming but I was able to salvage several barbies as well as all of the My Little Ponies!

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