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...


  1. I was so busy with school that I couldn't check my fave doll blogs all week! At least I have more to read now :p
    This was a great post, I always like to read how people ''improve'' their dolls. All these dolls look gorgeous (well except for those bangs on PD Cleo D:) And I'm glad you got Ghouls Rule Draculaura.
    I actually love her. I haven't seen her in stores for a while so it looks like I'll miss out on her :c
    Also, I must say something about your collection: that is one monstrous collection you have there John! And here I come, with my 12 MH dolls.. I feel ashamed and I have to admit, also a teeny, tiny bit jealous ^^

    1. Thanks, D_S! Now that I've discovered the wonders of boil washing my collection will probably never be the same lol. At the very least I won't be so worried about bad out-of-box hair. As for your collection, just look at it this way: your ghouls get all the attention they deserve! :D

  2. I boil straightened my GR Lala's hair today, and it straightened beautifully! I decided to put it up, and I was able to twist her bangs back, which makes me much happier :)

    1. Your GR Draculaura looks fab, Christina! Imo she looks much better with straight hair, and I LOVE the side ponytail you gave yours. I wasn't digging the curled under bangs of the original either. I sideswept mine, but she looks gorgeous with none at all, too! Great work!

  3. Holy crap. Your collection is huge. o_O
    I counted about 110 dolls, which has grown since you published this article.
    You're crazy, John. CRAZEH!!! D:

    Nah, I'm kidding. You're not crazy. (I think?)
    But I am totally jealous of your collection.
    I saw Scaris Abbey in your collection, her outfit being worn by the CAM sea monster. Why didn't you do a review on her?
    Sure, she's not partcularly unique, but her dress is pretty & her shoes are gorgeous, IMO. And less tinsel makes Felicity a happy girl. :)

    1. It's amazing how quickly they add up! I haven't counted my dolls in a while -- I knew I had a lot (too many, really), but not that many! I probably am kinda crazy! I'm certainly doll crazy. :p
      Abbey is the only Scaris doll I have left to review (besides Deuce, but you know how I feel about male dolls). I really just haven't been compelled to write a review on her because I do find her to be pretty unremarkable. But one will come eventually I'm sure, if only to close the chapter on Scaris.

    2. You gotta count them. Seriously. lol
      And there's nothing wrong with being crazy, well, not in my opinion.
      Speaking of crazy, I've got to order me one of these.
      Teeheehee! XD

    3. The bad part is none of my other dolls -- Blythe, Pullip, Barbie, all of my random other dolls -- are even seen in these pics! Oy!
      I think life would be very boring if we all weren't a little crazy! (In the good way, of course!)