How to fix Curly American Girl Doll Hair

March 24, 2015

About a year ago
I pinned a pin
that stated 
we could fix our dolls hair
by putting fabric softener and water
in a spray bottle.
Spray it and brush out the knots.
 We did that. 
It worked okay.
Last summer,
I took my girls to the 
American Girl Doll Store in Palo Alto, CA
while we were there visiting my Nana.
While we were in the store
my girls wanted to take their dolls 
to the hair salon.
At the hair salon,
you can pick a hair style
and they will get your dolls hair back to normal.
As they started brushing out 
Saige’s hair,
they could tell that we had put the
fabric softener in the hair.
We learned that she could not fix the hair.
Had we just used water,
Saige’s hair could have been fixed.
My daughter was super sad!
I read it on pinterest!!
What a bummer.
My daughter was getting a new 
doll for her birthday 
and we were purchasing it while we were there.
She pick the gorgeous
who has beautiful blond curls.
The cashier
took the time to teach us how to return 
her curls
and I was so grateful!
We wanted to share our knowledge with you!
(I don’t know if this 
works with other brand dolls)
Here is Caroline after
many hours of play
and with some crazy hair!
You will need two things…
a spray bottle with water and a wire brush. 
We use the american girl brand and love it.  
I usually keep a few in the house due to the fact
that everyone seems to need them at the same time!
***this contains an affiliate link :)***

It was too hard to 
explain in words 
so my daughter Aeryn and I made a tutorial video.
She is 10 years old
and did all the work of curling the hair.
I was just the narrator!
And the after!
(for straight doll hair, you just
spray with water 
and brush with a wire brush
in small sections 
until the hair is back to normal)
I hope you learn from our mistake!!

***Note added 1/7/16***
I know that people are saying that you 
should only give these dolls to children
who are mature enough to not wreck the original hair.
My girls are older,
13 and 11,
but sure love to do fun hairstyles
for their American Girl Dolls.
We have had to learn to fix hair
so that they can make fun hairstyles!
Good luck with your doll!


Couldn't agree more..I know our children are privileged but this time of year hard to imagine what others are going through..lack of food trumps Doll hair everyday.

Thank you both so much. Can’t wait to try it on my granddaughters dolls x

Iv curled my dolls hair many times never melted their hair it really depends my hair straightener's lowest temp is 1 and the same with my curling iron.

It's not a myth, the dolls eyes will turn silver do to age and water exposure I know because I had a doll that had silver eye so it's not a myth.

Never use a curling iron on American girl dolls. I've had several people melt their dolls hair no matter the temp!

Luckily for you, the modern synthetic materials, which are used in top quality designer wigs, can look very realistic. ombre lace front wigs

Because it costs around $50 and not everyone can afford to "just replace the head". Not to mention, if you can fix it yourself, why waste the money? Save it for another AG doll!

Fabric softener is 80% acid it will melt the hair after prolong time. These dolls cost to much to chance using acid on them

My niece Gianna has Caroline and when I saw her hair, I asked her what the deal was.(She's 9)and informed her that Caroline could not walk around with us looking like that, so we would have to find a way to fix her hair. I am glad that I read this because I was going to use the downy method, not knowing that it won't work on American Girl doll hair. I plan to try and save Caroline's hair with a mister and some water, so thanks for the info! Erica

We just got our first AGD, Josephina, and we're educating ourselves on her care. My sister shared this blog with us, after we saw MANY tips for the fabric softener. I went on the AG site to purchase the brush and saw that they sold a kit that includes a "smoothing spray for hair". I thought it contradictory to the other tips on their site. But after a good bit more research on their website, all the "smoothing spray" is, is water. They say it mists the right amount when brushing.
So. All in all, I've learned to use a small, wire brush, no plastic tips and a misting bottle of water. Which is what you recommend.
Thank you from the newbies! ;D

I would reccomed taking the time to wash and condition it

The eyes will not turn gray that is just a myth. What will happen is that the metal piece in the doll's eyes will rust and won't be able to open and close correctly

Thank you so much! I have the same doll and this worked wonders, the hair looks great now 🙂

Does anyone know about the Madame Alexander Dolls? I just bought one off ebay and her hair is a wreck.

I used had a Wal-Mart doll but I heard the same thing use fabric softener and water it ruined her hair completely but I couldn't fix her I wish I had seen your post earlier

I got a Grace on the first day she came out and I've been doing her hair like EVERY day and doing nothing. It's in perfect shape.

My AG doll's hair looks rather dull/dry looking. Should I try to wash it, or just do the water spray method. All suggestions would be appreciated.

Why not just send the doll to the spa and get her a new head put on?

Thanks for all the comments! I know that altoclarinet says to due the downy dunk, but we were unable to fix doll hair after we did that!! But we have been able to fix the hair over and over with just water.

Question from Emily- the cashier at AG store doll us to use the wig brush when we did the hair. She actually demonstrated how to do it with the wig brush! You can definitely do it with the pick and see how it goes.

okay, everyone, look: braid spray, downy dunk, or any of the other common techniques on the internet are essentially all the same thing: fabric softener and water. They contain a chemical that will "moisturize" dry, frizzy Kanekalon strands and help relax them back into straightness, but it does the same thing to hair that has been intentionally kinked (i.e. curled), leaving you with a straightened style.

If your doll has straight hair, Downy methods will be fine. If she has curly hair, you can either use the water method shown if the dryness and frizzing is not excessive, or if it is excessive, you can Downy dunk it and then carefully re-create the curls with a curling iron on the lowest setting. If you have a doll like Felicity who has a mix (she has straight hair, but pin curls around her face), you can Downy dunk the straight part while keeping the curls separate eg. by taping them down to her head.

With regards to maintenance, the brush/pick thing is more aimed at younger children who are just going to yank the brush through the doll's hair – the pick will do less damage when used that way. In hairstyling, picks are used to shape a curled style without really altering, de-tangling or de-frizzing it – not really the goal here. I have several curly- and wavy-haired dolls whom I have used the brush with since before AG introduced the pick, and they are all fine.

(However, it is important to note that dolls with their curls in locks, such as Cecile, need to be handled very carefully as both brushing and picking will destroy the styles – they can be reset as seen at but if you just avoid having to do that as much as possible, it's much easier. Also note that tip #1 below does not apply to these dolls; they should only be given to children mature enough to understand how to keep the hair in good shape while playing so that a brushing afterward is not usually necessary.)

Just separate the hair into small sections and brush carefully, using water and working out tangles with gentle strokes or your fingers instead of yanking the brush through them. Also, it is much easier to keep the hair in good shape if you 1. brush it anytime the doll is used/played with, so she doesn't get her hair into a bad mess and doesn't have it sit in tangles long enough to kink and 2. the doll is stored somewhere where it will be undisturbed, such as a shelf or on a stand – this is good not just for protecting the doll's hair, but to keep her from any damage she might suffer from being jostled in a toy box or tossed around on a bed.

I'd love to ask you a question about this… The instructions that came with my daughter's Caroline doll stated NOT to use a brush– to only use a pick. Just wanted to ask if the cashier explicitly told you to use a brush, or were her tips mainly regarding the water and twisting of the hair? Thanks!

Braid spray like that made to work on both human hair and synthetic hair works wonders! I highly recommend that and any wig brush

We got Caroline for my daughter's birthday. She told me that she read the tag about how to keep her hair nice. I'm glad that I saw your video before we bought her.

Great info but be careful not to get water in the eyes of your American Girl Doll. It will turn the eyes gray.

Caroline looks great! thanks for the info!

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