Saturday, June 11, 2011

Downy Dunk Party! :)

Hi everyone!  I've been planning on doing Downy dunks on some of my dolls for a while now, and finally got around to it two nights ago.  I decided to do all three ladies at the same time. :)

The lucky candidates were the Pre-Mattel Sam my mom gave me, Piper, and Rachel.  Of the three, Sam's hair was the worst.  It was dry, tangled and matted. 

Rachel's hair wasn't all that bad to begin with, but her hair had an unpleasant odor that I wanted to try to get rid of.  She didn't smell nearly as strongly of patchouli oil as when I first got her, but the traces were still there.  I hoped doing a dunk in scented Downy would help.

Piper's hair was the best out of the three, but she had lots of little flyaway hairs that were driving me crazy.  I couldn't keep them under control no matter what I tried.  I hoped that a Downy dunk would help with that.

Before I started the process, I wrapped each of the dolls in a dish towel, making sure their neck strings were tucked inside of it too.  This protects their cloth body from getting water stains.  You could also try this with a plastic bag for extra security.

I used clothes pins to fasten the towel together.  (Note:  Soon after I took this picture, I realized it worked better to put the clothes pins in the front, allowing me to lay the doll flat on her back while I was working!) :}

I taped cotton balls over their eyes to protect them from water or Downy damage.  Water can cause their eyes to rust, and Downy would most likely give them a bad case of sticky eye.

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture.  I must have been more tired than I realized when I did this!  For doll hair that seems dirty, I usually use baby shampoo to wash the extra residue out.  When I did this project, though, the only kinds of baby shampoo I had either smelled like watermelon Jolly Ranchers or sickly sweet fake strawberries.  Neither scent sounded great, so instead, I decided to use my Herbal Essences Totally Twisted shampoo...or so I thought.  As you can see from the picture, I used the conditioner instead!  The funny thing is, I didn't even realize my mistake until I was uploading the pics to this post.  How embarrassing!!! :}  So, if you try this on your own, try to remember to use shampoo, not conditioner.  And honestly, I would recommend baby shampoo instead, as it's milder.

So, here I am, getting ready to put "shampoo" in my doll's hair (good grief).

Working it into Sam's hair.

When I was done, I rinsed it out as best as I could.

I dried off as much of the excess water as possible with some dish towels. 

Next, I filled a big Tupperware with Downy.  (Sorry you can't tell it's there...I happened to use a white bowl and white-colored Downy.)  I did go ahead and use one cap full of water to dilute this since the Downy had a pretty strong scent.  Oh, and if you want to try this on a doll you'd like to fix up and resell, I would recommend getting an unscented fabric softener.  Some people are very sensitive to perfumy smells, and might be turned off by the lingering scent in the hair. 

If you're doing this for yourself and want to use a scented kind, make sure you choose a scent you can live with.  Even when you rinse all of the Downy out, it will still have faint traces of the scent you used.

For those of you who are curious, no, it doesn't have to be actual Downy.  I usually go for the least expensive and best-smelling brand of fabric softener I can find.  This time, I used Great Value "Mandarin Essence" from Walmart.

Once the Downy was ready, I put Sam's hair in to soak.  I've found that using a box or a stack of books to prop them up generally works best.  You want them to be stable enough that they won't slide, but high enough that as much of their hair as possible is submerged in the Downy.  I try not to have their entire wig cap soaking the whole time, because I'm not sure what that would do to the glue that holds their wig in place.

Sam in the Downy (BTW, I know it's not real Downy, but it's just easier to call it that!) ;)

After Sam was in place, I used a spoon to pour Downy over the parts of her hair that weren't soaking, such as her bangs and the sides of her hair.  I repeated this throughout the 24 hours she was soaking, whenever I thought of it.

As I was preparing to do Rachel's hair, I found to my unfortunate surprise that her wig is very thin in several places.  She may eventually need a new wig.  The above picture was taken right behind her left ear...

...and this picture was taken behind her right ear.  Strange that she went bald in the same spot on both sides.  I don't know if this is a common thing for the Julie wigs, or if my particular doll is just very well-loved.

She also has a very thin spot in the back, which I noticed when I did her hair in double braids at the coast.

Soon, I had all three dolls ready.   Rachel and Sam...

...and Piper, too.

I finally found a great use for the holes in the top of my orange boxes! :)

After 24 hours (more or less), I took them out of the Downy, starting with Piper.  I gently ran my fingers over the length of her hair to get rid of as much excess Downy as possible.  Then I brushed through her hair BEFORE rinsing the Downy out.  When her hair was tangle-free, I carefully rinsed it out.

This is a picture of all the hair that Sam lost during this process.  Her hair was so matted that even with careful brushing, it was coming out at every stroke.

The three girls, finished with their Downy and starting to air dry.  I always hang my dolls over the edge of my washer with a towel on the floor to catch the excess water while they dry.  This helps the underside of their hair dry as well as the top.  I rinse my brush carefully (since I've used it on Downy-soaked hair), and then take a moment to brush through the hair whenever I think of it.


Rachel (Why, Blogger?  Why must you persist in uploading my pics sideways or upsidedown?)


After a few hours or so, when their hair was no longer dripping wet, I sat them up to let their hair dry correctly the rest of the way.  This prevents the hair from being unmanageable and sticking up all funny. 

Oh, and for those of you that are wondering, the white stuff on Rachel's chin is Oxy cream.  I'm starting to work on that little blue spot she has. :)

I thought you might enjoy seeing the Before and After photos of each doll.  Here they are:

Sam:  Before                                                                              After

Rachel:  Before                                                                        After

Piper:  Before                                                                            After

All three gals together, feeling much better about their hair! :)

I'm not 100% pleased with how they turned out.  There is definite improvement, especially with Sam's hair.  Unfortunately, I think there is still Downy residue in Sam's hair, which leaves some parts looking greasy and stringy.  If you try this, be sure to rinse THOROUGHLY to avoid this mistake! 

Rachel's hair has greatly improved, but there are still a few spots that are a bit frizzy.  I'd like to see if I could get it completely smooth...but maybe I'm just being too picky! ;) 

I may do another Downy dunk eventually on Rachel, and try to rinse Sam's hair again, at the very least.  I'm not sure what my plan is yet.  For now, I'll see how their hair does once it's completely dry.  I'm also considering using curlers on Sam's hair so that I can attempt to get her hair looking more like it did originally.  I'll keep you posted if I do this. 

Also, I just want to say, if you are 13 or under, please get a parent's permission before trying this on your dolls!  It can be a great way to restore their hair, but it can also potentially harm your doll if it isn't done correctly.  If you'd like to see a video tutorial of how this is done, there is a great one on stephenswodadancer's YouTube channel HERE.  As an extremely visual person myself, I found this video very helpful the first time I attempted a Downy Dunk.

Afterwards, Samantha was so excited about her new hairdo that she let Piper and Rachel try on some of her clothes. Then we had a photo shoot. :)


American Girl Dolls Rock!! said...

Wow I love the funny downy dunk party!! They look so pretty now!! I might try that if my dolls hair gets nasty.

Bama said...

Great job! I have been downy dunking dolls for several years and it really is worth the effort. Your dolls' hair look so much better. The photo shoot pics are awesome! :o)

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, gals! :) It can be a lot of work, but it's definitely worth the effort. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Elliebob said...

I really need to find that stuff. :)

Elliebob said...
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Elliebob said...
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Elliebob said...

I just got through chatting with Belle! I got home from Disneyland last night. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Ooh, I'm jealous!! ;) We're hoping to get there within the next couple of years with the kiddos.

Elliebob said...

Haha! I took the quiz, I am Emma too. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Fun! :)

Caelen said...

I gave my Bella (your Piper) a downy dunk yesterday.

Katie said...

I've been considering doing that with Kirsten's hair this summer, it's starting to get truly nasty. Thanks for the link to the video!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sam's transformation is just amazing. You did an excellent job! (now if only I could force MY guardian to give me a Downy Dunk... XP)

<3 Jamie

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Caelen, Katie and Jamie! Thanks so much for commenting. :)

Caelen, Piper says "hi" to Bella. She hopes her Downy dunk went well. ;)

Katie, I'm glad you found the video link helpful. Stephenswodadancer is the one who really got me interested in fixing up dolls in the first place.

Jamie, thanks for the complement. I'm really pleased with how Sam turned out, too. :) Maybe if you're good, you can convince your guardian to try a Downy dunk on you, too. ;)

susan said...

Beast Belle: Have you ever tried a ceramic flat iron on an AG's hair? The little girl across the street has Julie and her hair was so dry, so my daughter did all your steps plus the hot iron and it looks BEAUTIFUL! You have to put it on the lowest setting and work fast. I'm sure you know this trick though. It takes the dry ends out. It works best on straight hair like Julie's. Just food-for-thought.


AGDollFriends said...

You all look lovely!!!
Your human person did a great job with your hair.
We also recommend Wig spray for dry wigs and flyaways. It works great! :)

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks so much for the comments, gals! :)

Susan, it's good to hear from you! I haven't been able to comment on your blog because Blogger isn't letting my computer comment on any blogs that have their comments embedded beneath instead of opening in a new window or page. :(

I haven't tried a ceramic flat iron yet. I've heard of it and would love to try it, but I don't have one. I may have to invest in a doll hair flat iron. :)

Ooh, I'll have to try the wig spray too, AGDollFriends. Thanks for the tip! :)

Elliebob said...

How do you get background music on your blog? I have some american girl music from the american girl place in L.A. so I thought I could do that for mine. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Elliebob. :) Music from the AG Place would be fun...I'm not sure how to add your own personal music, though.

I used for my playlist. You can search for music and create your own playlist. It's based on Youtube videos, so depending on which player you select, you can have the option of videos, too.

A couple of words of advice. Don't save your playlist until you're absolutely sure it's what you want. Once you save it, that's the playlist you're stuck with unless you want to start another one. I had a very frustrating time trying to update my playlist. On, it showed the changes, but when I added the playlist to my blog, it was the original, unedited one. I finally had to go through and start all over again...I was NOT a happy camper.

Also, because this player gets its material from Youtube, evey so often your songs will randomly not work. A message will come up saying "Content disembedded by user" or something like that. It's happened with several tracks on my playlist.

Eventually, I'd like to find a better way to add music, but this works for now.

Hope you can find a way to add the music you want! :)

beast'sbelle said...

I got it wrong. The message is "Content owner has disabled embedding." Which kind of makes me worry about the legality of it. I know lots of bloggers use it, but I may check into it and just make sure.

Elliebob said...

Ok, Thanks! I will look into it! can you get the music off your blog easily? :)

beast'sbelle said...

Yes, all you have to do is remove it on your design page. :)

Phoebe said...

That was so cool, they all look wonderful! My Kirsten has really dry and frizzy hair, do you know if doing this would help?

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Phoebe! It should help at least some. If Kirsten's hair is really frizzy, it might need more than just Downy. I know some people steam their doll's hair, or use a ceramic straightener, like Susan mentioned in an earlier comment.

I've also found that dolls with straighter hair tend to do better with Downy dunks (although my Sam turned out okay). Because Kirsten's hair was originally in braids, I'm assuming it's at least a bit wavy? She might not have as dramatic of a transformation, but it might be worth a shot! :)

I think that stephenswodadancer might have a video on steaming doll hair, so you might follow the link I included in this post and search her channel for a video on steaming.

Hope this helps! You'll have to let me know how it goes if you decide to do a dunk. :)

I Love AG Dolls said...

Julie looks adorable in Samantha's Middy Dress! Haha,about the shampoo/conditioner mishap.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, I Love AG Dolls. I thought she looked nice in it too. :)

Anonymous said...

Rachel looks beautiful ! Good job!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Ok so if I didn't wash my dolls hair before the dunk, because the videoi watched didn't include that step. .is that Ok? And have u ever used a flat iron on your dolls?

beastsbelle said...

I would only wash the doll's hair if it feels greasy or dirty. If it just needs conditioning, stick with just the Downy.

I've never personally used a flat iron on my dolls' hair, so I can't help you there...sorry! :} I know there are people who steam their dolls' hair straight, but I've never tried it.

Anonymous said...

Just received a DAC Pocahontas whose hair is horribly matted, I am planning a downy dunk, but was unsure how much it would help...but Sam makes me hopeful that maybe it'll do more than I was thinking it would. Fingers crossed. If not, I may have to look into steaming...she is just TOO pretty of a doll to leave with matted hair.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Anonymous! I hope your Downy Dunk for Pocahontas goes well. Unfortunately, the DAC hair is pretty low quality compared to AG hair, so I don't know how well the Downy will help. You might end up having to steam it anyway. Still, it's worth trying! I'd love to hear how it turns out! :)

Anonymous said...

The downy dunk didn't do a whole softened but it didn't help the frizzies. The boiling water dunk, though, seems to have helped a LOT. The ends are still a bit frizzy, but even the ends look better.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for the update, Anonymous. :) Yeah, unfortunately the Downy Dunk doesn't do much for ultra frizzy hair that is not as high quality. I'm so glad the boil dunk helped, though! :)

Miri said...

They look lovely! I do have a question: Would this work for Disney Animator dolls? I have a rescued Aurora from a thrift shop and her hair is a bit of a mess, poor girl. Any suggestions?

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Miri! You could try it, but I can't guarantee the results. Unfortunately, the DAC dolls have pretty low quality hair that tends to frizz badly after lots of play. I would suggest starting with a mild shampoo and conditioner if the hair seems dirty. If it's fairly clean, it would be worth at least trying the Downy dunk. If her hair has any sort of bad frizz, though, unfortunately the Downy won't help that. It can help with tangles, but not frizz.