Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A real potboiler...

I've always heard about the wonders boil washes can work on bad doll hair and have seen too many gorgeous boil-washed dolls on Flickr to name. Spurred on by my growing curiosity and the fact that I've been getting a lot of icky-haired MH dolls lately, I decided to try my hand at it and see what happened. I selected a small group of candidates and got to work. The actual process is super easy. If you have a stove, a pan, and running water (and a doll, of course), you're set! I did the dip and swirl method, never leaving the doll's hair in for more than 15 seconds or so. Wanna see how it went?

The ladies in the post-boil waiting area.

In case you were curious, this is where the bulk of the Voicething dolls hang out. 

You'll find a few more here.

And a few more on the shelf in the above two pics.

First up is Skull Shores Lagoona. This doll had great hair when I first bought her -- thick and curly, with those beautiful long bangs hanging in one fat tendril next to her face. Over time her hair got rather frizzy (as tends to happen with Lagoona), and had even matted a little. This is one of my absolute favorite Lagoona dolls so I just couldn't abide. Into the water she went! I'm very pleased with the results! Although I hated to lose her curls, I feel it's a fair trade-off to get this supple, silky hair. If I may say so, I think SS Lagoona looks stunning here! Her tight curls transformed effortlessly into long, shining, straight locks. The bangs naturally sweep to her right; no muss, no fuss! What doesn't come through in the pictures is just how soft and silky it is; it's really something.

Next is Clawdeen as Wonder Wolf. I really didn't have any problems with this hair. It wasn't perfect, but it wasn't horrible or unmanageable either. Mostly I just wanted to see how she'd look with straight hair. Again, I'm very pleased with the results! It looks wet in the pictures but it's not, it's just super-shiny from the treatment. The texture is, again, incredibly soft and silky. I think Wonder Wolf may actually look better with a mild wave than with the factory curls.

Several months ago I decided to take SRM Operetta's ponytail down to give her a looser, groovier look. At the time I simply washed the hair then banded it down. After three months of being banded down it still had a bump from the ponytail so she was a natural candidate for boil washing. After her first treatment the hair was really silky, but it still had that damn bump! After it had completely dried, I dipped it again. Still a bump! I decided to call it quits on Operetta's hair for the time being. She'll just have to make do having a bump. At least the texture is nice!

Next up is SRM Ghoulia. This is my backup version of the doll. I bought her really cheaply with the intent of experimenting with light mods so of course she made her way into the pot. I was really curious to see how the kanekalon fiber was effected by the treatment. First, it completely removed the really thick curl of her pigtails. It turned the fiber extremely soft. Almost too soft, as it's actually really puffy now. It also gave her tiny little waves in spots, almost like the hair was crimped. I think overall this is a really cool look, but that puffiness is going to have to be tamed a little.

Lured in by wicked, functioning bat wings that attach to the doll by a brace that bares a striking resemblance to a corset, I finally broke down and bought Ghouls Rule Draculaura. I also dug her clear, spiked booties, gradient-colored tights, and ruched, knit bodice. What I didn't love so much was the doll. So it was with glee that I dipped and swirled those tight curls in the rapidly boiling water, then turned her head a little and dipped those bangs, too. The result? Lovely straight tresses with a shining luster, and cool sideswept bangs to accompany them. Although a vast improvement on the curls and mall bangs, this hair still isn't perfect. A second treatment is in her future. That said, I like this doll far more now that she's been given the treatment. This was probably the funnest doll to do of all, since I wasn't concerned if I messed her up.

Why is she only wearing one shoe in this pic? I have no idea! Things get crazy when you're boiling water!

I mean, she's so much more stun-gorge (stunning and gorgeous) than before, right? I think so!

Last is Picture Day Cleo. As you may remember from my PD Cleo review, my doll had terrible, terrible hair. It was dry, thin, ratty, and uneven. Her bangs were in particularly bad shape and had to be trimmed, they were so uneven. Shortly after I got her I washed her hair and the water that rinsed from it was brown. So weird. Anyway, fast forward to a few days ago, post-boil wash, and her hair is in much better shape! Although there's no way to fix thin rooting (unless you root more hair into the scalp yourself, and I wasn't gonna do that), the texture is much softer, silky even. Unfortunately, I think the boil made her bangs even worse. Now they stick out, and have sort of split in half.

I've been on the lookout for a replacement PD Cleo. Is it just me or is she the hardest to find of the four wave 1 PD dolls? I always see Spectra and Abbey in abundance; not so much Cleo. In any case, over the past few months I've inspected several Cleos on store shelves but none of them seemed any better than the one I already had. A few days ago, however, I came across one at Walmart that not only seems to have better hair, her face paint seems a little nicer, too. I haven't deboxed her yet so I could be wrong. I really hope she's as great as seems in the box. I want to love Picture Day Cleo, I really do. I just need the right doll.

It was really fun playing around with boil washing. And it opened my eyes to the possibilities there are with doll hair. It doesn't seem like it's the fix-all answer to problematic doll hair (it couldn't get rid of Operetta's bump, at least not after two treatments), but it certainly improves texture and shine, and can be a sort of shortcut to giving your doll a dramatic makeover. I guess next I'll have to try my hand at boil perming.

There's a teaser for a future review to be found somewhere in this pic...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ghoulia Yelps Deluxe Fashion Pack Review

Back when I did my first review of the new deluxe fashion packs I doubled up, covering both Frankie's and Operetta's packs in one big mega-review. The plan was to do the same with the remaining two deluxe packs but honestly, doing the Frankie/Operetta review turned out to be more than I had bargained for. By the time I was finished I felt like I had run a marathon. It didn't take me long to realize that I should take a divide and conquer approach to the remaining two deluxe packs, so Ghoulia and Robecca will be covered separately. It's been over two months since I wrote a Ghoulia review, and as you know I can't go too long without bringing her up, so that's whose duds we'll be looking at today!

Ghoulia's pack includes a dress, shirt, pair of jeans, vest, glasses, shoes, belt, purse, and earrings. One important thing I forgot to mention in the Frankie/Operetta review is that all the accessories included with the deluxe packs are brand new! Considering all the goodies included with the four packs, it really is a lot of new stuff! There are two outfits included, so two models are needed to show them off. For the first outfit I went with Scaris Ghoulia because she's new and cool and I'm nothing if not a shill for new Mattel product (heh). For the second look I chose Classroom Ghoulia because she's a really great doll that I don't feature on here enough. Also, she looks pretty damn amazing in the second outfit, if I may say so.

First up is Scaris Ghoulia in the "A" outfit. Everything you see on Ghoulia is included in the pack. She wears a one piece dress with a print of alternating grey and white gravestones. The stones are cracked and decrepit-looking -- very cool. There are horizontal stripes between the gravestones in alternating red and black. The red stripes are shiny. The cut of this dress is pretty simple. It has tank sleeves, hugs the middle, and the skirt flares a little. There are no embellishments -- no pleating, ruffles, etc. The real draw here is the print. The gravestones are pure MH, and their aged look adds a lot of personality. The sparkling red stripes add a hint of glam to the look. On it's own the dress is alright, but it definitely needs some accessories to liven it up. That's where the belt comes in. It's a nice aqua blue shade and fairly wide. It has a simple diamond pattern molded into it. At the front is a skullette buckle with a portion of the belt dangling next to it. This is a non-functioning buckle; the belt actually closes in the back with a tab. Surprisingly the aqua of the belt perfectly matches the grey and red of the dress. This isn't the most amazing MH belt we've ever seen but it gets the job done.

The glasses included have thick black frames and a somewhat blocky design. If they weren't horn-rimmed these would be perfect for Clark Kent. They definitely have the nerd-chic thing going on! I really love these; they're easily among my favorite Ghoulia glasses, and being a big Ghoulia fanboy who always loves her glasses that's saying a lot. I especially like them on Scaris Ghoulia. Something about the wide, dark frames really compliments her dramatic, blood red lips. Ghoulia's earrings are squiggly pink worms. A zombie girl wearing worms as earrings -- how can that not be considered amazing! Yes, when she wears them it looks like worms are crawling into her head, and yes, I absolutely love it! Mattel, I love you. I probably don't tell you that enough.

Ghoulia's shoes are open-toed sneaker-heels. The body of the shoe is black while the sole and heel are light blue. There are molded strings and squiggles on the body while the sole and heel have the same grid pattern as the belt. They're not amazing, to me anyway, but they look good enough and are definitely "Ghoulia". Her last accessory is her purse, a medium-sized tote of red... brain matter? I'm not entirely sure. The texture looks kind of like the brain matter molding they often use on Ghoulia's accessories, but the little bubbles have circles molded into them. You biology experts care to fill me in? Whatever the case, I like the purse.

I would say overall this look is better than the sum of it's parts. The only pieces I really love here are the glasses and earrings. I do love the print of the dress; the cut is a bit boring. The belt has some so-so of it's own going on. But put everything together and you've got a pretty awesome look happening! The lighter tones of the earrings, belt, and shoe soles compliment each other well. The red purse highlights the red of the dress while the black glasses play off the black portion of the shoes. Everything here comes together really nicely. Like I said, the total look is better than the sum of it's parts.

Next is Classroom Ghoulia showcasing the "B" outfit. The only things here that are included in the pack are the top, jeans, and vest. Everything else is a hodgepodge of different pieces. The top is black and has a fairly wide collar and short sleeves. The collar and sleeves are hemmed with white thread. A tiny red bowtie with a print of black gore is attached. It's really cute; the bow adds a lot of personality to an otherwise rather plain shirt. Over the shirt she wears a white vest with a red and black cherry print. This is really cute, too! Her jeans are capri length and come in pure red. Just below the knee the red breaks into a dripping pattern laid over solid black. This whimsical take on gore is very Ghoulia, and just plain looks cool. The sharp red against the black is striking, and it perfectly matches the red and black shirt and cherry print on the white vest.

I definitely love this look! It has a youthful, rebellious vibe that really works for me. All the pieces are well-made, although the pants fit a little too snugly at the hips and have a tendency to get caught in her joints. The Velcro closure doesn't always want to stay shut, either. In any case, this striking look is pure Ghoulia -- a little gory, and a lot cute!

While I'm finding myself more in like than in love with most of the accessories included in this pack, the ones that that I do love -- the glasses and earrings -- are among the best we've seen for Ghoulia. The earring worms are just plain hilarious. While I don't like the dress on it's own, paired with the right accessories it definitely works. The second outfit is near-perfect and has become one of my favorites for Ghoulia.