How To Detangle Barbie Doll Hair

Sep 9

Ok, so, maybe this doesn’t exactly fall under the “organization” category…but this is definitely an “improvement project”. If you have a little girl in your life, chances are you have Barbie dolls and Disney Princess dolls around the house. While I was hoping to stave off the idea of Barbie altogether (or at least for a few more years), my 4 year old can’t get enough. And I have to admit, it’s sweet watching her play with the dolls, dress them up, do their hair and create little story lines. Even her 8 year old brother gets into her stories and they play together for hours.

Issue was….their sweet little stories had ventured outside the house and into the swimming pool. The redwood trees are in drop season and we can’t keep up with the droppings as fast as they fall. After they played with the dolls in the pool, they would forget to bring them back out. The next day I would find the dolls outside, soaking wet, and covered in redwood leaves.

Never seen a Barbie doll that’s wet with redwood tree droppings? That’s strange. Luckily you have me to educate you on the real issue this is in the World. Have a look, my friends….


If you’re a Barbie Doll collector, look away. Poor Ariel…definitely not her best days under the sea…

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair what happened to your hair?!”…

And if you know me, you know my sense of humor. I had WAY too much fun (coming up with content for this post. I’m sorry, but does this not look like a bad season of The Bachelor: Survivor style?….
It’s that lost season where they battle it out for Ken’s love by surviving weeks on end in a saltwater pool full of redwood droppings?…
Joking aside, those redwood leaves are NOT easy to remove. The hair makes it almost impossible. And to begin with, Barbie hair in general is pretty much impossible. But I was determined to find the remedy. And I did!

What Are The 2 Products?

I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat. Wait not more. What is on the supply list?….Fabric softener, a hard bristle hair brush and hot, hot water…
This is similar to the hair brush I used and works very well. I specially purchased this one for her doll hair and no one else is going to use it.
Since I had quite a few doll heads to detangle, I put 1/4 cup of fabric softener into the bottom of a large pot and filled it halfway with hot, hot water. Then I dunked the doll heads, up to the neckline, into the pot, like this…
I positioned them in a way that they wouldn’t completely fall into the pot. I let them soak for about 5-10 minutes…
While they’re soaking, let’s play “caption this”….
After soaking, I removed them and brushed through their hair. Each doll took about 5 minutes, some less…some more. Rapunzel took the longest at about 20 minutes, but she’s high-maintenance so that’s to be expected. To easily brush through their hair, I used a hard bristle brush like this
Once the hair was tangle-free, I ran their heads and hair under hot, hot sink water…making sure to get the fabric softener off the doll bodies too. Then I left them to sit on the counter to dry overnight…
This was torture for Natalie. She wanted to play with them in the worst way, especially because their hair was tangle-free. But I’d say it was more torture for me…nothing like making dinner and cleaning the kitchen that night with 9 pairs of doll eyes staring you down. Creepy.
Anyway, Nat was patient that evening and instead decided to lay out their clothes for the next day…
And when the next day arrived….wow! What a difference! I brushed through their hair one last time and look at this!…


Better than new! And these ladies smell amazing!
Hope this easy solution is helpful if you have the same issue going on in your home.
Back soon with more guys! xo

comments +

  1. Kelley says:

    There were literal laugh out loud moments going on over here. Brilliant!

  2. I love love love this blog post. Such a giggle to read. The photos are so funny.

    I wish I knew this trick when I was growing up!

    • Awe, thank you!!! I love to make people smile and laugh so knowing I was able to do that…makes my day!!!

      • Cj says:

        Hi Samantha I too have a grandaughter that has a barbie fetish .. and I also have another step that will make the barbies hair shine very nice after u do the fabric softer and comb it out, wash it out with dish soap and rinse very good let dry and come out it will really shine..if it is really damaged use a low temp hot comb and comb it through it will repair almost every bit and trim ends if needed…then curl or style … I sure hope ya’ll will try it if you have scraggly headed dolls laying round like I do…good luck

  3. Rana Dissi says:

    I loved reading this post. Thanks for the great tip. 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness – I cannot stop laughing!!! Love the pic where they're all upside down! 🙂

  5. Nicekrol says:

    Such a funny post !!! I only have a boy but I love this tip !
    And thanks a bunch for all the photos. I will made the one with the saucepan my screensaver !

  6. Love your commentary!

  7. Crazedmom says:

    Downy Soft and silky smooth. Is it possible to do this american girl dolls?

  8. dawnp says:

    What a hilarious post! Thanks for sharing even if it isn't your typical organizational piece. 🙂

  9. Melanie says:

    I actually tried it but it didn’t work for us.

  10. Joan says:

    Your a good mom. I’m a good gramma, the dolls are soaking as I speak. Lol, it is disturbing

  11. Linda says:

    Thanks for the instructions – I’ve been buying ‘gently used’ Barbies at the thrift store and will do this on their hair. Just wondering how to get the curl in it again?

    • Amber says:

      I’ve used hair curlers not the hot ones but the regular ones you can probably find at the dollar store

      • Rosemary says:

        Or cut some dollar store plastic straws into curler lengths and hold the curlers in with hairpins

  12. Patricia Reynolds says:

    I collect dolls and have loved them since I was a kid Barbies included.This is first a total blast to read ,loved it the cherry in top is you came up with a truly great solution to be tangles,actually making the “girls” look better than new hair wise.It’s hard to style some Barbie and others ,there’s a kind of hair spray on them . Thank you for the tip.

  13. Very entertaining. Haha

  14. James says:

    What about bubble gum in a little girls hair? Can it be saved or shaved?

    • Mel says:

      You can save it! Anything oily will remove gum from hair. Actually anything sticky from skin. You will have to work the oil in and keep at it till it lets go and you will be able to slide it right out, no cutting. Rinsing can be a pain but you can short cut that out with an astringent like Sea breeze. I am a Hair Stylist and have faced everything from gum to super glue and Baby Oil or gosh even cooking oil works to remove even the most evil of sticky substances.

    • Judith says:

      Peanut Butter. Rub it in and it will come loose.

  15. Debbie Brown says:

    I was just looking at the barbies in my tub and was thinking “can I save their hair”? Then came across this, perfect timing. Thank you.

  16. So funny but so helpful too. My grandaughter is the same – I thought I’d have to buy new dolls!

  17. Pam says:

    great suggestion I love your sense of humor, I have washed dolls hair with baby shampoo then used conditioner left it in for a few minutes then rinsed the hair now the comb goes through easily no more tangles .To curl the hair while its wet I use perm rods, I have really small ones bought at a thrift store, using the perm papers also helps keep the little ends in I leave the rods in overnight letting the hair air dry if you want really tiny curls Shirley Temple look just take the rods out leave the curl as is or you can brush the curls into a style you like

    • Mary Fagan Nesmith says:

      It WORS! My granddaughter left 42 in her closet at our house. I was able to save all but three. I plan to make new clothes and set them out. Thank You So Much. Mary

  18. Mary Fagan Nesmith says:

    This was great. I love dolls . My granddaughter has a tons of these dolls. OK maybe not a ton but lots. 12 years worth. I have not had the heart to bury them. I plan to try this. Thanks so much.

  19. Karlyn says:

    Can’t you just use hair conditioner? Karlyn

  20. Kristina Bartlett says:

    I have large, soft bodied, my little ponies with similar hair. I bought them second hand and am hoping this works. The process will have to be tweaked since they are a fabric stuffed body. Keeping my fingers crossed but wondering if spray kids detangle might work too?

  21. Terri Ann says:

    I absolutely enjoyed reading every second of this how to project. I just love your sense of humor. The big pot with the long legs and those little Barbie booties was hilarious.

    Miss Natalie has an awesome Daddy that’s for sure.

    Thanks for making me smile today.

  22. Carmen says:

    Una genia y divertida !! Gracias !

  23. Melissa Grace says:

    Thank you! Mulan, Pocahontas, & Aurora need a spa day! I’ll treat the dolls & while they are soaking, I’ll treat my girls to mani-pedis!

  24. lisiepooh says:

    Thanks for the tip! I have two barbies circa 1965 and this truly did work to fix their hair (I was so worried that their hair might melt)! I can’t wait for their hair to dry so I can do a re-brush and see how lovely they look!

  25. Tracey says:

    this was awesome to read. and SO MUCH FUN and laughter, great sense of humour, should be more ‘ real’ people telling stories – that we can all relate to. Thank you for sharing and in a fabulous way. Great tip….-cheers

  26. Mamie says:

    Would it work on baby dolls? I had to toss several baby dolls maybe they were really toddler dolls,. I had to toss them because the child care center closed and the dolls hair was a mess and not worth sending to another center within the agency. It was very tangled. So my question is would work on a doll larger than Barbie?

  27. Cindie says:

    All I could think of was Petticoat Junction where the3 sisters bathed and swam in the towns water tower!! Billy Jo Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo. Fond memories of good television

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