Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where to Get Doll Hair

From left to right: Kanekalon wig hair, DollyHair curly saran, and RestoreDoll nylon
Since I'm on a "hair" roll, here's a list of trustworthy sources for doll hair! This might also come in handy for people who want to make doll-size wigs. This is an overview of the upsides, downsides, and pricing options for various services I've dealt with and ordered from!

If a service isn't listed, or you have any warnings/advice/good experiences, please tell me about it.

One of my old Halloween wigs (kanekelon fiber)
Old Wigs
Recycling old wigs is the most sustainable option for doll hair. Thrift stores stock them during Halloween and other costume festivals. These wigs are only worn once or twice and donated immediately after, making them cleaner than the hats you find in retail shops. Your friends and family may also have old wigs they want to give away, so ask around for free doll hair!

Upside: Sustainable and inexpensive. One wig is enough to reroot an entire Bratz or Barbie doll.

Downside: Small selection, hair may be bad quality. Kanekelon hair used for costume wigs is usually low quality, while fibers used for realistic hairpieces are higher quality. Tokyokalon and saran hairpieces are best. Avoid wigs that feel dry to the touch, and check the ends of the hair for tangles, texture, and frizz. Avoid clown wigs/costume afro wigs, as they are cheaply made and impossible to style.

A regular RestoreDoll Nylon Hank
Restore Doll is an American small business based in Texas, and operated by the Gray Agency (Kathy Gray and her family.) They sell synthetic hair and doll repair kits, and also distribute the Katsilk product line (note there is no silk in Katsilk hair or flock, just nylon). Their site features a helpful flocking tutorial and general doll restoration tips, as well as a gallery of customers’ completed projects. This site is especially geared towards Barbie and Blythe collectors.

My experiences with RestoreDoll are positive.

Upside: Fast shipping (under a week), good quality hair

Downside: Medium selection (they do not stock curly or color-changing thermal hair.) They do not stock black nylon hair (their darkest shade is eggplant, but they stock black saran hair.)

Pricing: $1.57 per nylon hank, $4.16 per saran hank. Bulk deals are available as “XL Format” and “Large Format.” Two hanks are enough for a Barbie, three for a Bratz doll.

A bag of DollyHair's curly saran hair
Dollyhair is an American small business based in California, and operated by Tina Amantula. The site sells synthetic doll hair, doll wigs, mohair wool, and an excellent metal rerooting tool. They feature helpful tutorials on rerooting, and a gallery of customers’ completed work (with links to their websites.) This site is especially geared towards Barbie, Gene and My Little Pony.

In 2007, targeted Dollyhair in a smear campaign by posting three negative reviews on Following legal action, the author revoked the reviews and admitted they were fabrications.

My experiences with Dollyhair are positive.

Upside: Huge selection of hair, including curly and color-changing “thermal” varieties. They also let you order customized blends of hair. Really generous hanks (DollyHair includes extra hair to make up for slow shipping.)

Downside: Slow shipping. Prepare to wait anywhere from two weeks to one month (larger orders ship faster than smaller ones.) Also, mohair wool comes from abused sheep. Don’t be mislead by “humane” marketing claims... please stick to using synthetic hair!

Pricing: Varies. On average, nylon hanks cost $10 and saran hanks cost $8.40 (note that DollyHair also features a special “RD Hank” of saran hair for only $2.50.) Curly colors come uncut in one-ounce bags. On average, nylon curls cost $7.50 and saran curls cost $12.68 (different colors have different prices.) Dollyhair also offers bulk deals.

One hank/bag is more than enough for a Barbie doll, Bratz dolls need two (but there will be a lot left over.)

My Little Customs' thermal pink-to-white hair. 
Photograph by Robin Bray.
My Little Customs
My Little Customs is a British small business operated by Robin Bray. They sell synthetic doll hair, rooting needles, and doll repair/restoration parts. My Little Customs also features useful video tutorials on rerooting, and have a Flickr group where users can post pictures of their completed dolls. This site is especially geared towards Blythe and Sindy dolls.

I have never purchased doll hair from them, but they are your safest bet for buying doll hair outside the United States. Robin is extremely nice.

Upside: Huge selection of hair, including color-changing “thermal” varieties. They also let you order customized blends.

Downside: Ships from Britain (this takes more fuel if you live in the Americas.)

Pricing: Varies. On average, nylon hanks cost $4.20 and saran hanks cost $4.20. Thermal saran hanks cost $4.20. Bulk deals are available as “XL Format.”


  1. You've given a lot of information for those who enjoy collecting and refurbishing dolls. I especially like that you give suggestions on economic ways to re-tress a doll. I would never have thought of using an old wig, this method would ensure that both dolly and old wig are given a second chance in life and spare a few less items from going into our over used landfills.

    The link to the sheep article was eye opening. What a cruel and barbaric practice. It may be a prophylactic procedure to keep sheep healthy but any procedure should be done to minimize pain and discomfort as much as possible, to do anything less is totally inhumane.

  2. Almost Precious--- thanks for your comment :DDD!

    I agree with you 100%, and had the same reaction to mulesing as you did. The way I see it, mulesing is especially cruel because sheep are bred wrinkly, so they have more wool per inch of skin (which increases their chance of getting flystrike.) Many wool farms won't adopt less-painful alternatives because those "cost more" (apparently, so do painkillers.) Those farms have so many sheep that workers need to rush through the shearing just to make ends meet (so accidents happen on both sides.) The chief concern for these types of farms is wool/mohair production, not being fair to sheep or farm workers. That's why it's up to consumers to pressure them to change their priorities... we vote with our dollars!

    There are people who keep pet sheep, and smaller wool farmers who don't do mulesing (and who treat workers and animals with respect.) I live in a farming town, so I <3 responsible small farms! But sadly, most mohair retailers don't know how their stock was harvested, who harvested it, or where their wool comes from. It's just a big mess at the moment.

    That's why I just stick to using synthetic mohair and other fake-fibers, it's just less of a hassle.

  3. Great post, thanks for all the info! Do these ship abroad, though? (well, I gather the one My Little Customs does XD)
    I know also had doll hair wefts for sale, though it currently seems to be offline... But if it comes back, there's another resource for it. :P I never bought hair from there, but I've bought other things and they're really fast to ship.

  4. Ugh, I feel sick! I wish I had found this blog before I bought mohair from Dolly hair! Thanks for sharing that. At least I know better now.

  5. Hey Dani! Thanks for the feedback.
    Yeah, I didn't know about mohair before, either. The good thing is there are amazing synthetic versions (like the kind used for the Monique Gold wigs) and DollyHair's curly hair selection. Also, if you make "fur" wigs, the "fur" used in them is fake, and just as fun to style :3

    It's called "funfur," and although you can't root it, it makes some cuuuute wigs.