Treating Blythe hair – Neo and Kenner

A collection of tips and tricks from Blythe collectors and restorers that will help you maintain your new and vintage Blythe doll hair.

The quality control of dolls with curly hair coming straight from the Takara factory has declined over the years. All is not lost and following these guides you can treat and style your dolls hair.

40+ years of neglect has left many Kenner Blythe dolls with hair in a variety of states, usually including some element of frizz.

Neo Blythe hair (dolls released after 2001) and Kenner hair (vintage dolls released in 1972) is made of different plastic and must be treated differently. You cannot use heating tools on Neo Blythe hair. 

Treating Neo Blythe doll hair

Treating Kenner Blythe doll hair

Heat treating Kenner Hair by 222am

Do not use this treatment on a Neo Blythe doll (released later than 2001).

For a lot of people the idea of heat treating their delicate Kenner hair is incredibly scary. I will be the first to say, it comes with the risk that you will burn your dolls hair. Risk aside, I have had success with heat treating my Kenner dolls hair first to remove the frizzy ends.

To straighten Kenner hair you need:

  • A spray bottle for water
  • A hair straightener that has a temperature gauge so you can set it below 80 degrees celsius
  • A comb
  • Hair ties or clips to hold the hair up
  • A towel
  • Silicone based frizz free hair serum

Wash your Kenner’s hair before treating it, you don’t want to have to do it all again after it has been wet. Use wig shampoo if you can get it. You need to de-tangle the hair before you can treat it, or you will end up having frizz that you are just compressing and making it curlier. Before you do that you should check if you have any missing hair plugs, if you do, brushing it could make more hair fall out because the hair is interlocked together. You may need to fix this first before treating it, or be super careful.

For the purpose of this post, I am going to assume you have now washed, conditioned, de-tangled and re-thatched your Kenner’s hair. The ends are still frizzy though no matter what you do right? Set the hair straightener between 60-80 degrees celcius.

You should always test the straightener on a tiny bit of hair at the back before you use it on a noticeable spot in case you burn it. I have burnt my dolls hair before but thankfully it was just a millimetre at the back. Using a straightener set for human hair will burn the dolls hair. It needs to have a low setting and most do not have this setting.

It is best to start with the bottom layer of hair, just like you would if working on a human head of hair. So pin your dolls hair up to keep it out of the way. To de-frizz Kenner hair, you need to work on the hair one plug at a time. It is very time consuming but this is the only way to get rid of it and even then it can come back in time. I killed the nerve in my thumb while working on my first Kenner, so make sure you take breaks!

Wet the plug of hair, or if super frizzy, you may need to even go one strand of hair at a time. Starting at the top of the plug, go down it using the straightener (that you have tested is not too hot somewhere inconspicuous). You will hear a scary sizzling sound which is the water on the hair sizzling against the iron. You may need to repeat this several times for each plug of hair to get them straight, wetting and combing between each application of the hair iron.

Try not to tie anything around the straight hair you have done, just move it to one side and keep going. This may take you a couple of days or even weeks. I do it in front of the tv with the doll between my knees and her hair spread out on my lap over a towel. Once you are finished I find adding a tiny bit of silicone based frizz-free hair serum to the hair keeps it smooth and shiny.

This post is a guide only, based on things that people have tried and found useful. We take no responsibility for damage you do to your dolls hair.

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