Doll Hair Types


It looks beautiful, it feels beautiful, and it's one of the the easiest to style types of hair. It is extremely strong, and it's less prone to breaking than the other kinds of hair. It takes a curl very easily, and can just as easily be straightened again, if need be. It can be boil permed, but it doesn't have to be! Wet it with room temperature water, set it in curlers, let it air dry, take the curlers out, and you've got beautiful curls or waves! If you want really tight curls, a boil perm will never hurt, as long as you don't boil youir water at too hot of a temperature. Nylon and polypropylene can only withstand mildly simmering water, so when you see the air bubbles just beginning to rise to the water's surface in your pot, that's the temperature at which you should perm nylon and polypropylene. Any hotter than that, and the hair could frizz. Nylon can also be baked without having its integrity affected!

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Saran™ hair is a long-time favorite of many people, and it's the type of hair that is most often used for Barbie dolls (but Mattel uses kanekalon on Barbies sometimes, too). It has a waxy feel, which helps keep flyaway hair strands at bay, and it's weighted more heavily than other types of hair. It's somewhat resistant to curling, so if you're going to curl it, we would suggest overcompensating by about 50% by using smaller curlers and smaller sections of hair than you want the final result to be. It can be boil permed with VERY hot water... the hotter, the better. Saran™ hair is used primarily by Mattel (Barbie) and Tonner (Tyler, Sydney, etc.)

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The Kanekalon Hair sold on Dollyhair is doll grade Kanekalon, not the human-grade Kanekalon that you can buy at your local beauty supply store, which is very different! Human-grade Kanekalon is manufactured with the idea of mimicking human hair. However, you can probably imagine how such thick strands of human hair would not be to scale on a small doll, such as Barbie. Human-grade Kanekalon ends up looking inappropriate on dolls, and it's very stiff and bristly. Doll grade Kanekalon, however, is comprised of very fine strands, and is used by doll manufacturers for extremely stick-straight hairstyles, as well as for curly hairstyles. Kanekalon Doll Hair has been used on Barbie dolls since the 1980’s and still used today! Kanekalon hair is extremely responsive to heat styling and can take any style you'd like it to have. Kanekalon hair can withstand the hottest boiling water for boil perms, making it possibly the most user-friendly of all the synthetic hair types sold on Dollyhair because it's very easy to style, and very durable against heat. You'll be able to distinguish Kanekalon Doll Hair from Saran Doll Hair by seeing that Kanekalon strands are finer than Saran and Kanekalon Hair is not quite as shiny as Saran Hair.

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Polypropylene Doll Hair is an extremely lightweight hair that is somewhere a cross between Saran and Nylon. The texture and feel is similar to Saran while it has the flexible styling properties similar to Nylon making it a very versatile hair to work with! It can be boil permed and styled the same way Nylon can. Polypropylene Hair is manufactured with an oily product to keep the strands together so this must be washed off with shampoo or dish liquid to achieve a softer and smoother texture. Boil washing will make it softer as well but make sure to only use mildly simmering water when boil washing. Polypropylene is nonporous, which means that it can't be dyed with fabric dye, or scented with our doll hair fragrances.

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Acetate is a textile that is made with deconstructed wood pulp, which is known as cellulose. After the cellulose is reacted with acids and other chemicals, acetate is produced. Acetate feels more "natural," more organic, and less artificial than other synthetic hair types. Truly, the best comparison that we can give you is that it feels like the hair of a persian cat. We are not aware of any dolls/toys that are, or were, factory-rooted with acetate. You can't buy acetate doll hair anywhere but Dollyhair!

Acetate's tensile strength is probably the weakest of all synthetic doll hair types, so you don't want to apply too much tension to it when you're rerooting your doll, or you can get a little breakage. It's nothing to worry about, though, especially if you're not a first-time rerooter. It can be boil permed, if you wish, and it can withstand very hot water.

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Doll Hair Types

Doll Hair Types Cheat Sheet

Texture Soft, Smooth Fine, Silky Very Fine, Fluffy Smooth Organic
Weight Medium Heavy Ultralight Light Light

Simmering Water

Boiling Water Boiling Water Simmering Water Boiling Water
Curls / Straightens Easily Resistant Easily Easily Easily
Strand Strength Strong Moderate Delicate Very Strong Delicate
Dyes with Fabric Dye Acrylic Paint Fabric Dye None Fabric Dye

  • Hair Size Guide

    Find out more about the sizes we well and how much hair you need for your doll.

    Hair Size Guide 
  • Reroot Tutorial

    A guide on how to reroot a doll using our reroot tool.

    Reroot Tutorial 
  • FAQ

    Learn more about our products, shipping information and more!