Doll hair can come in different materials, with synthetic and yarn being the most commonly used fibers.
Yarn is often used on collectible baby dolls to give them a realistic infant hair look. It is versatile and can be styled differently, making it an excellent choice for children who enjoy playing with dolls.
Synthetic doll hair is the most commonly used type and comes in various lengths, making it versatile for different doll hairstyles. It can be curled, waved, straightened, and used for perms. Heat-perming is possible without damaging the hair. Kanekalon is a high-quality synthetic hair that can be shaped using heat and is ideal for doll play and role-playing scenarios.
When cleaning synthetic doll hair, only use lukewarm water to avoid damaging the glue holding the hair in place and to prevent mold growth. Avoid blow-drying the hair as it can melt the fibers and cause tangles. Instead, use a wide-toothed doll wig brush to detangle the hair.
Silk doll hair is available in various shades and can be dyed using commercial dyes or tea and coffee-based solutions. It has a beautiful sheen and is suitable for creating curls and hairstyles. Kanekalon is a soft and lightweight silk material, while Doll grade Kanekalon is stiffer and used for specific doll styles. Regular Kanekalon has super kinky yarn suitable for crimped 80s styles. Silk hair can be boiled, washed, and permed for easy care and styling. It accepts dyes well, including acid dyes like RIT and iDye Poly products.
Although progress is being made, finding black dolls with diverse hair textures remains challenging. Many black dolls have straight hair, which can negatively impact young girls who may believe that only straight hair is beautiful. This can lead to the premature use of chemical relaxers. Naturalistas doll and toy line aims to change this by celebrating coils and curls. The inaugural set, featuring Angelica from Naturalistas, encourages children to embrace and love their natural hair through play styling activities.
An alternative option for doll makers is Kiwi, a synthetic fiber that mimics the appearance and feel of silk. Kiwi is easier to work with than nylon and can be dyed using Rit or acid dyes. It has a long lifespan and can withstand boiling washes.