Kirsten was my very first American Girl Doll. She was a gift from Santa in 1986. I loved and played with her...with no idea I shouldn't wash and blow dry her hair, and no idea what a wig brush was! In 2010, after my daughters rough play with her, she lost a leg and Santa found her in a box, took her to his workshop, where his elves 'fixed' her up. She came back as my daughters first American Girl all clean and with nice tight braids. But, within a few months the braids came out and she was Gracie's best friend! I have tried a downy mixed with water spritz to help calm the frizz, later, tried a Downy rinse. But, looking at the poor girl, I though she really needed more! I found this site that gave detailed directions on washing, downy and straightening the hair. I also read about using a steamer, and hot water to smooth it. So, looking at her matted hair, I decided to give it a try. Here is what she looked like before....
You can see that her hair was full and puffy! With a lot of frizz and fly away!
It had a dull look to it all the time, felt 'thick' and looked quite dark.
I forgot to take pictures of the work in process. But I followed the directions here: http://beanbunny.com/downydunk.html.
I began by soaking her hair in Downy for about 3 hours, then read through a thread that talked about how important it is that the wig be clean. So, I got out the shampoo and washed her hair. Rinsing it very well! Then, brushed it it, and put her back in the downy for another hour. That was where my patience ended! I rinsed the Downy out, using hot water, because I wasn't certain I would do the straightener. But, as I brushed it out, I could see that it needed more. I have a Conair ceramic straightener that goes from 1-25, so I thought I would see what it would do. CAUTION...CAUTION....CAUTION! Heat can ruin your dolls hair! Do not proceed with this step without a CERAMIC Straightener, with a VERY LOW heat setting. In fact, I was so nervous about this step that I checked the straightener by touching the heat plates with my hand. Even on 1, I thought it was too hot, as the directions said that "at 1 it wouldn't take the kinks out of baby hair". Mine was HOT! I unplugged it and let it cool down until I could touch in and it was just warm. I used it off and unplugged, and on wet hair. Going over it with the straightener and brushing it until it was soft and smooth. Then, I would plug it in for a minute, unplug and test it. A few times when I thought it was warm but not hot, it was too hot and when I squeezed it smelled...I spayed more water, and waited for the iron to cool more then carefully tried again, trying to not squeeze the iron hard when straightening.
The back of Kirsten's wig has short hairs to cover the part. They were particularly rough, matted and kinked. I made sure the straightener was only warm. I could touch the plates easily. Then I straightened the short hairs here and around her face.
My straightener has edges that curve, so when I got to the bottom of each section, I pulled the hair around the curve to keep the ends from being stick straight. I spent about 2 hours spritzing, brushing and straightening it. I could not believe how long and smooth her hair looked! My daughter asked how I made it blonde! I think it was just that dirty. Once it dried, I can see that there are a few places that are a little 'puffy'. I think they need a bit more straightening, but over all, I am amazed! My laptop is giving me trouble, **GRRRRRRR***so these are pictures I took with the camera on my phone and do not capture the shine- her hair really looks AMAZING, it is actually shiny like a new doll! No kinky frizz! I read that you should not do this with a doll who is less than 6 years old...washing and careful brushing should be enough for a newer doll. And never use downy or straightener on a doll with waves or curls...they will go away!
The little puff on the right needs a bit more work.
Kirsten is so happy with her new-do! I think she looks like she fits right in with our newer dolls now!