Saturday, 4 May 2013

Hair day for Monster High

My MH dolls are in desperate need of repaints. I kept postponing this because their hair needs to be fixed before any paint job, and this means steaming hot water, which is so scary! My husband swore he'd help, but he's always busy, and last week when the weather got very hot in a couple of days, it dawned upon me that summer is coming for real and I better straighten that hair before it's too hot for such experiments.

As much as I hate hot things and urgent matters, it had to be done.

The ladies and gents at Legendary Tutorials armed me with all the knowledge I needed. I had previously tried to straighten Ghoulia and Draculaura's hair following the general directions I found online. My attempt was unsuccessful; both dolls had ponytails which left deep crimps in the hair, and they did not go away after the hot water treatment. Here they are with Frankie, whose hair was untouched:

I boiled some water in a covered pot and tested a small strand from each doll (they use different hair fibers) to make sure they behave nicely. They did. As I couldn't trust myself not to touch the hair to the pot, my plan was to keep the doll over it and use a ladle to pour water on the hair back into the pot. I ran out of free hands when I started doing this, so there are no progress pictures, but you can see the setting - the doll, swaddled in a clean towel, the pot with boiling water and the ladle:

I like the hair to be straight and very close to the head, which means the dolls had to sit upright. There is the option to remove the head, but I didn't see how that would make it easier for me. The towel needed some special manipulation, especially after it became heavy from all the water. 
I also used the ladle as a doll basin, in which I dipped the sides of the head for about 30 seconds several times, to heat those parts really well, thus avoiding touching the pot accidentally (the stove was on through the entire procedure).

After each pouring and dipping, I quickly brushed the hair into the right shape. I kept doing this until the doll was too hot to handle. Did I mention how much I hate hot things? Aaargh.
The doll's neck joint becomes wobbly from the heat after a while; that is pretty unsettling too.

When the hair was straight enough, I moved the doll into the sink and poured cold water on it immediately:

I'm holding the doll by the head because the weakened neck joint made it tilt backwards. The cold water sets the hair, cools the doll and my burns.

I brushed the hair again and let it dry. For extra de-poofing, I wrapped the heads with a strip of cling film:

And done!

It was only at this point that I realized that I had come to get a cup of water from the kitchen two hours earlier and my computer was left running in the other room >.< I cleaned the mess, used some of the water to pot my tree and called it a day.

I removed the cling wrap after a couple of hours and brushed the hair again. The next day I returned to see the fruits of my labour. All the hair was, of course, completely dry and looked a lot better than in the beginning:

I adore Draculaura now! The hair is so nice and soft and looks amazing. I love it so much, I bought a bunch of other Draculauras with different hair styles off ebay. Frankie's hair is similar, but Ghoulia's is absolutely terrible - feels very artificial and is the least smooth after boiling. I don't know how to soften it.

Not everything was straightened, but I'm quite pleased with my results. Most of the problem spots are hidden under a mass of beautiful, almost straight hair.

I declare these three ready for repainting. I don't think I'll try to fix their hair again. It's tedious and hot water terrifies me... wait, I said that already. Going through this again with the same dolls would be the ultimate torture.

If any of you has better methods for straightening doll hair, do share them with me. I'd love to hear how you deal with unruly hair and what you think of the results I got!

Love, The Black Kitty (^^)~


  1. Hi Blackkitty. I found this very interesting as I too have had limited success at boil straightening MH hair, its relatively resistant to hot water it seems.

    For softening hair, I find human conditioner is the best option. There are two kind good for really resistant hair. Firstly, you know the kind of conditioner you get in the box with hair dye, for post-dye conditioning? That's brilliant. Massage it on to damp doll hair, leave for 10 mins or so, and rinse out. There's also the "leave-in" kind of conditioners, and they are good but can leave doll hair feeling a bit oily to the touch, I find its best to leave them in for a couple of days and then rinse them out again.

    Your dolls look great, by the way, I especially like Frankie's makeover! Best wishes :)

    1. Thank you! I stayed away from conditioners because of the oils that might damage the dolls. Well, now I know what to do with a post-dye conditioner that I hate (I'm very picky about hair products)! I hope it will work. Although I have a problem with poor Frankie right now - I'll write a post about it these days.

  2. Hey I read somewhere that you should use downy or woolite to soften the hair, in cold water! I'm not sure if that helps much, but this helped me, not sure if this will work for my Jackson Jekyll, though! His hair is really bothering me, its really tacky and just looks... Wrong. It takes away from the nerdiness and instead makes him look jocky??? Anywho, do you think this could work with the Save Frankie Jackson Jekyll?

    1. I don't have a Jackson Jekyll doll so I don't know what kind of hair they used on him. In my experience, all male dolls I touched had really gross hair. Perhaps you could try rubbing baby powder (or any kind of absorbent powder) into it and wash it out the next day?
      I used fabric softener on all dolls, but for Ghoulia and Spectra I found another fix - steam from a boiling kettle.


Brighten up my day with your comment ;) It will mean a lot to me.
Open to anyone, including anonymous.