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Life as Lou

How To Save Your American Girl Doll’s Hair

  • June 13, 2010 9:37 am

American Girl Doll Hair- Fixed
Hair AFTER I fixed it.

When I was a kid (as in twenty years ago), I saved my pennies for three years until I could afford an American Girl doll. I chose Felicity and absolutely adored her. I took great care of her, and was delighted to pass her down to my own daughter. My daughter was enchanted with her when she was four, and I foolishly overestimated her maturity and let her play with my doll. The first few weeks were fine, but one horrible day, I found my doll, hair completely ratted and matted, being roughly brushed as my daughter tried to brush through the half a can of Hair Glue hairspray she had doused Felicity’s head with.

Her hair was ruined, just utterly destroyed. I tried brushing it, but nothing worked. I finally put it away for about a year, figuring that she was beyond repair, and that I’d have to send her in for a head replacement (which does not come cheap).

A few nights ago, I thought I’d give it a go, and try a few things I thought might work. We were already at the point of replacing the head anyway, so how much more damage could I possibly inflict?

This is what I did. It took three hours- BUT IT WORKED! Felicity is 90% back to normal. It kills me that I didn’t take a before picture, because when I say ruined I mean the worst doll hair mess I had ever seen times two. So- if you are in a pickle, try this out!

1. Gently wash the hair with shampoo.

2. Take 1 inch sections and gently comb the damp hair until untangled. Do this while it is damp- it is better on the acrylic. Expect to lose some hair in the process.

3. Set your iron on a low setting- I used the acrylic sweater setting and it worked. Test it on a small bit of hair to see if it melts. When you have a temp that doesn’t melt in, iron these tiny sections of hair.

4. Trim- brushing and normal wear makes the ends raggy and uneven. Acrylic stretches when dry-brushed, so a light misting is helpful. Do a 1/4 inch trim (more if you need it) to bring the ends to a cleaner and more uniform shape.

5. Take a curling iron on a very low setting- test it on a small end piece of hair until you have it low enough. Go piece by piece over it- curl it up, and let it go. It will add shine and get the ends curling under.

6. At this point, use a little bit of hair pomade on the ends and any fly aways or frizzies you can’t fix. This gets the strays into place and adds shine. It is also helpful on the ends. My pomade happens to smell good, so now Felicity smells lovely too.

7. Roll it up in hot rollers and let it sit for a half an hour if you want curls.


Now- the AG company DOES NOT recommend any heat styling. If you mess this up, you will melt the hair and ruin the doll, which is why you should test to make sure you have the right low temp. At the level of damage my doll was at, I figured I had nothing to lose- if I did nothing she needed a head transplant, and if I totally destroyed it trying to fix it, she still needed a head transplant!

I did this on Felicity’s hair, which is pretty silky- I’m not sure how a doll with more textured hair like Molly’s or Addy’s would work out.

I also don’t have any experience with non-AG doll hair, so this may or may not work.

If your doll is scuffed, nail polish remover works well to clean that up- just be mindful of the blush on the cheeks, pink lips, etc. I’m not 100% sure if it will take the color out or not- I know the skin will do just fine.

The whole process is time consuming, so I recommend setting up in front of the TV and throwing on a movie. It took me 3 hours to fix mine.

My daughter is almost two years older, and is now saving her pennies until she can buy one of her own. ]]>


  1. Mireille says:

    < ![CDATA[she is looking lovely!
    too bad you didn't take before pictures..
    had no idea this could be done with hair..
    might wanna try it on my old dolls..

  2. jessica says:

    On the My Friend dolls (Mandy, Becky, etc.) nail polish remover does remove blush, pink lips, eyebrows, eyelashes, and the painted on eyes! I learned from sad experience as a girl. If anyone tries it, definitely be careful with that.

  3. Katie says:

    Sounds like quite the ordeal! I have a Samantha doll as a kid and was not so kind to her. She got a haircut and crimping. I cringe when I think of it now, especially since I have a little girl who would love to play with her one day.

  4. Rebecca says:

    The hair looks great. It is possible to replace the wig too, if someone chopped off the hair. Always use non-acetone fingernail polish. And non-scented Downy works to restore dry hair. Never give up on a doll. If you can’t fix her, someone can. Good for you for trying.

  5. Lacey says:

    Thank you!! I just spent the last our with our Felicity’s hair soaked in conditioner and detangling tiny sections. I’m going to do the gentle heat set next!!

  6. Anne says:

    < ![CDATA[I have problem with my Corky & Cricket dolls hair.
    Since I don't know how they were as new dolls, (I'm the 2nd
    owner) but I am sure their hair didn't feel like straw.
    Corky is the worst with those curls, I am sure it is dirty
    too, usually dirt makes it coarse/hard.
    Looks like nobody has Corky doll at least no problem with it. Please, help!! ]]>

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