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.
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
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. :)