Saturday, December 20, 2014

Doll care

Hair Care

First of all all your American Girl doll needs is simple hair care to begin with and you won't have to take drastic moves to restore her to her majestic beauty. 
Even with a young fan you can teach them that their doll has her own special brushes. American Girl approved brushes are the 
  • American Girl brand brush (Item# F9566 $8), 
  • American Girl doll pick (Item# F6213 $6) ,
  • Any wire wig brush (found at a beauty supply store)
  • Wet brush (found at many big box stores and beauty supply stores
  • Boars Hair Brush (best for Addy or a textured haired doll)
  • I am sure the off brand 18 inch dolls also have their own brushes you could try (Our Generation, Journey Girl, Dollie and Me, Madame Alexander, and My Life) 
  • A wire brush
*TIP* American Girl dolls have a wig cap whereas Our Generation dolls hair is rooted. American Girl has a higher quality wig than Our Generation. Care may differ a little bit.
*TIP*  Never use a doll brush on human hair the chemicals in your hair will break down their hair.
*TIP* Always mist the dolls hair before brushing. Taking care not to soak the wig cap (on American Girl) or get the dolls eyes wet. They will get damaged.
*TIP* Don't use a bristle brush it will cause your dolls hair to get frizzy.
*TIP* Metal brushes are preferred. Plastic causes static and metal glides through the hair better.
*TIP* Your doll is not human it doesn't need human hair products.. a very small amount of shampoo can benefit on a rare occasion to get rid of the dust and stuff. Your doll doesn't NEED hair products. If you use anything we suggest Braid Spray (oil free), John Frieda deep infusion, Wig Spray, Detangler, Son of a Gun (Not Armor All).
*TIP* Don't leave hair in a style other than their meet style for an extended period of time.

Getting Started
Gathering Supplies

I keep my supplies in a small cosmetic bag just for the dolls. Some supplies in your bag of course include your brush (if you want to distinguish your dolls brush from yours use a sharpie or finger nail polish and mark it),  spray bottle, cape or towel, Pony tail holders.. I suggest ouchless- the less hair they lose the better right? or Blax snag free hair elastics as long as they label that they won't do damage I think they are alright, possible hair curlers (AG sells them) or  inexpensive foam curlers from the big box stores, bobby pins or hair pins, and a salon chair is always helpful. American Girl makes several designs of chairs and I have seen other brands as well. Or a really stable stand will also work. 

Got Tangles?
For best results and to keep her wig nice, lightly mist your dolls hair with water (water is the best product for your dolls hair) to lightly dampen before you brush or use the hair pick. Use just enough water to make it easier to work with. Remember don't get it in her eyes they may rust and use the styling cape or a towel to keep the torso from getting to wet (plus its fun!). The best way to prevent tangles is to brush the hair out every day or as often as possible.

Before you begin brushing make sure you have a good stable hold on your doll or have her secure in the chair or stand. Try to hold her neck while brushing and becareful not to pull too hard because it could loosen her wig cap.

*TIP* When brushing or picking your doll's hair while the doll is new, some loose hair will come off. This is normal and will lesson over time with proper care.

To brush, take a hold of a small section of hair near the ends. Gently brush out the tangles. Keep brushing in small sections, working your way up toward the base of the wig but always brushing down toward the ends. Brush it as you would a real girls hair. You can brush a section then tie it up or pin it up as you work on the next section.

*TIP* If you don't have time to brush out the dolls hair frequently a light misting will keep the hair from getting too frizzy.


Now that you know how to brush you can gently style the dolls hair in many different styles. American Girl publishes books and a DVD for ideas.
Doll Hair Studio DVD Item # F3661 $9.95
Doll Hair Salon Item# F5858 $8.95
and Amazon has some Doll Hair studio books

Here is a link for the original American Girl doll's hairstyles
Thank you Living a Dolls Life Blog *LINK*

Another link to adorable styles thank you One Savvy Mom *LINK*

Youtube has lots of fan made videos on different ways to style their hair as well. 
So just do searches on there...

How to do Marie-Grace's Meet Style

Addy Meet Hairstyle Tutorial

Kirsten's Braids

Modern Hair Styles and OG styles for every doll

Addy's hair is not that serious

Triple Knifty Knots

Double Decker Ponytail

American Girl Doll Hair Studio - Part 1

Original Historical Hair Styles

How to Manage American Girl Doll Lanie's Curls

Isabelle's hair appointment part 2

Of course American Girl gives great info here *LINK* and if your near a store or boutique they make an appointment with the Doll Salon to get your girl looking spiffy again.

Need More Help?

There was a recent blog on Hot Water Dunks and more restorative tips.. 

Hot Water Dunks should be one of the last resorts...
*link here*

Rewigging your doll

How To Rewig Your American Girl Doll Using A Weave!

When your searching for a wig you want a size 10-11 for an 18 inch doll and for a bitty baby you want a size 12. You also want to use modacrylic wigs. Some brands are cheaper than others and some may not quite have American Girl standards. Its up to you. Many sellers on Ebay claim that they are American Girl but they may be a lower quality.

More Rewigging Tutorials

Making a boy doll

and I recommend this group

Or there is the option of sending your doll to the American Girl doll hospital which is $44 plus shipping and they will replace the WHOLE head (they don't just change out the wig). If you have a Pre-Mattel doll they may not be Pre-Mattel when sent home. The wig may differ from doll to doll.

*TIP* Some dolls have odd smaller hairs to cover wig cap some of these hairs can be irregular or seem odd. This may be normal and typical of your doll. 

Caring for and Cleaning Your Doll

Other than her hair your doll has other elements like her cloth body and vinyl limbs..

American Girl used to sell a simple doll care kit to clean the vinyl their mixture was made up of simple baking soda.. So make a paste with the baking soda and water mixture then gently washing her limbs without getting her torso wet (it might be best to wrap that part in a towel to absorb any water.) You can also use a magic erasers on the limbs only if you use them on the face you could rub off her face paint. When washing her face with baking soda be careful not to get any water in the eyes they can rust. American Girl dolls are made to play -gentle play- and as a result of play the doll may get shine marks (sorry no picture its hard to photograph such marks) they are barely noticeable its just rubs or bruising from playing with your doll. 

To clean her cloth torso I would spot clean it as best as possible if too much moisture gets inside your stuffing and doll could become moldy. 

If your doll seems to need more washing that just a good surface washing you can untie her neck ties and remove her head. 

*TIP* Please keep neckties long it helps secure her head. If they are in the way of a younger fan you can scotch tape them to her back out of the way.

Once you've removed her head you get a large bag or large bowl and unstuff her body of all the premium American Girl stuffing. If you have bought your doll used and it smells heavily like smoke you may have to replace the stuffing but I would do that as a last resort. You should separate her legs and arms from her torso if you plan on washing the torso because water can get caught in her limbs and cause mold as well.  Plenty of people have washed her body in the washing machine I do not recommend this however its risky and you don't want your little fan getting sick from mold or ruin the doll. Don't worry I will provide you with a tutorial on how to restring her limbs..
Once you've removed the stuffing and limbs you have two options. Hand Wash or Gentle Machine Wash. 

If she needs more care than just a sponge bath. You may want to try hand washing. You can try to use a stain stick or tide stick on the spots then hand wash in a sink or small basin with Woolite. If you use the basin you can keep the limbs with the open hold side down to try to avoid water getting into the hollow part of her limbs. It might be hard to drain properly though which is why I originally suggested removing them all together. If the stuffing is discolored throw it away and use fresh Polyfil. If the doll has an odor problem you may also have to throw away the stuffing and add some baking soda to the water when you wash it. 

To Machine wash I would suggest using an all natural detergent, dye free or Woolite to wash your dolls torso (only) I would also put it in a delicate bag on the delicate cycle (cold temperature) with an extra rinse for just a gentle wash. Hang to dry.

Limbs need extra care?
If the baking soda and or the magic eraser isn't working on her limbs then you may have to do an Oxy treatment.. Follow Stephenswodadancer on Youtube to learn more about Oxy treatments. *link*

*TIP* When doing the Oxy Treatment don't leave her in too hot of an enviroment for too long. Let her take breaks it can be a long process. My Kirsten doll turned orange (her torso).. I was very sad.

Restringing limbs
How to Re String your American Girl Doll Part 1 of 3 
How to Re String your American Girl Doll Part 2 of 3 
How to Re String your American Girl Doll Part 3 of 3
How to Replace Your American Girl Doll's Neck tie or string

*Amy's restringing your doll or limb tightening videos
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

The Doll Fairy is a great service that can take care of all your dolls needs. Please see her business page here

Also the doll hospital replaces limbs and torso and does surface cleaning.

Dye transfer and scuffing due to any clothing on AG is the exception not the rule but it can happen. To prevent dye transfer simply have your doll wear a white tank set (undies), or a white t-shirt under clothes. That doesn't protect her limbs though :(. If doll clothes are washable set the color by putting the item in a delicate bag, wash on cold in the delicate cycle, vinegar in the rinse cycle to set the color and then hang to dry.

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