Pullip hair is made of a synthetic that is much more sensitive to heat than normal hair. For this reason, it is best not to expose it to high temperatures from things like curling irons, straighteners, and blow dryers. Even regular brushing will cause it to frizz over time, and a lot of dolls arrive with ‘dry’ hair that is already starting to frizz up on its own! While not completely fix-able, you can go a long way towards preventing damage and repairing most damage with these tutorials.
This tutorial is mostly beginner. Some knowledge of hair care is useful, but not necessary.
You will need:
General Maintenance tips:
Unfortunately, pullip hair doesn’t grow out. The worst damage you do to your own hair gets removed every time you get a trim but this is not the case with pullips.
The first thing I do with a pullip (unless she has curls or a hairstyle that is sewn into style) is to wash her hair and leave some conditioner in it for a couple of hours. This gets rid of the factory residue in the hair and makes it softer. Some people also soak their pullips hair in fabric softner. Prevention is the way to go with pullip hair.
Another thing to remember is that pullip necks are fragile. Never hold a pullip by the body when brushing the hair. Hold the pullip by the head. I usually hold my index and middle finger on each side of the neck and put my thumb at the top of the head with one hand and brush with the other.
Frizzy Hair Repair
Now that I’ve gone over basic hair care, here’s what you do when you have already damaged your doll’s hair, or worse yet she came with damaged hair.
Meet Penny Candy. A Mitzi, she arrived with frizzy ends and badly frizzy bangs. New. I tried to take care of her by conditioning her hair and leaving it in for a day, and I kept her hair in braids so it would not be damaged any more but it just got worse and worse.
On the left, the hair has been put through the straightening process I will describe. On the right is how she was before. Big difference, huh?
First, wet the doll’s hair. The trick to using heat on synthetic hair is to keep a layer of steam between the metal and the hair so that the hair never gets quite hot enough to melt. Still, melting is a possibility so use a scrap wig or a portion of hair at the back of the head to test on to make sure first, ok?
Next, put your iron on the LOWEST heat setting, and seperate a small portion of hair from the rest and throughly saturate it with conditioner. Saturate. See the amount of conditioner on that little bit of hair below? That’s half as much as I use for my entire head. Don’t be stingy with the conditioner.
Use the wide toothed side of the comb to get the tangles out and work the conditioner through. Now, on the lowest setting, run the hair through the clamp on the curler. Slowly. Don’t curl it, just run it through as if it were a hair straightener (the clamp on a curler is tighter, which is why I use it). You will hear a little hissing noise, and in most cases that’s fine. You will also get drips of hot conditioner being squeezed out of the hair if you saturated it properly. I keep a towel in my lap when I do this.
The first pass usually just straightens the hair, it doesn’t take out the kinks. So dampen the hair with some water and comb it through with the fine toothed comb side and pass it through the curling iron again. Two passes may do it, but you may have to do one or two more before it is smooth. You can tell when it is perfectly smooth by running your fingers over the ribbon of hair after it has gone through the iron. If you feel any rough spots, it has not been fully straightened.
Ok? Now do it about 40 more times. All in all, it took me about 2 hours to do Penny’s hair. This is not a quick fix, it takes a long time and a lot of patience.
Unfortunately, this will not work on all dolls. It works on most, but some will have hair too damaged to be repaired by this method. My Nightshade Moon doll came with frizzing so bad I had to cut parts of it out. I have gone over her hair at least 3 times using this method and it is still coarse and frizzy, just not as bad as it used to be.