Anyone who knows me will tell you how I will go above and beyond to fix a child’s doll…even when that job seems impossible. Many children are quite attached to their dolls and really have a difficult time when they are separated. When I know a child needs their doll back home quickly…I push all other jobs aside–and work to get that doll out of recovery and back into their little owners arms. This week I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely family who came to me with their daughter Maria and her sad little Disney Belle doll. Maria was also accompanied by her sister and these girls looked to be about 5 and 6 years old or so. Maria looked up at me with big sad eyes and told me how sleeping with Belle every night messes up Belle’s hair and how she tried to fix it. I could see her apprehension–after all..Maria was going to leave her prized possession with a total stranger! Her Mom had already spent hours trying to condition and comb out the frizzy matted mess–but felt this hair was far too gone to ever save. When I first saw the doll…I was also unsure if this could even be fixed.
This shot shows how dried out and frizzy the hair was. It actually looked like a hot blow dryer just crinkled it up. I could not even find the ends of the hair as they were matted at the roots! When I looked into that little girls eyes…(my brain was saying no) my mouth said Yes….I will do my best to make your Belle Beautiful. I could see the sadness and fear in Maria’s face about leaving her dolly here so I told her and the family to follow me to the Hospital in the back. There was already an old Schoenhut laying on one tiny mattress…and I had another doll mattress just waiting for Belle. When Maria saw me carefully lay Belle down on her little bed and explained she would not be alone…I saw a little smile form on her face. As soon as they left…I pulled out the complete Hair emergency kit I had in the dolly O.R. I started out with the detangler–and used probably enough for ten dolls! I knew I had to take the special 5 tooth comb and start at the ends of tiny one inch sections…but how to get at the ends was the problem! Using just that comb and spray…after about 3 hours–I was able to section off the areas that I had de-tangled. I knew I was getting somewhere, and continued until all the tangles and matted hair was combed through. This still left me with de-tangled but Frizzy hair. (Luckily I just learned from another collector–that you can flat-iron certain types of nylon hair..thanks Michael!) I took a tiny sample piece and used the flat-iron on low setting…sliding carefully down the small piece. Sure enough–it worked! I had never, ever used a flat-iron on synthetic hair as I always feared a big melt-down. I would still ALWAYS test on a little sample piece first–but wow–this worked great! After I had the hair nice and straight, I shampooed and conditioned with products made specifically for synthetic doll hair. This removed all the silicone in the de-tangler and brought back a nice shine. I sent a couple of pictures to Maria’s mother for approval……….
I received an email right back from Maria’s mom telling me she passed her cell phone with Belle’s picture on it to Maria and said “take a Look” and Maria cried!! OMG…I said “I hope they were tears of joy” She emailed me right back and I had to cut and paste the actual email:
They were!! She reacted like this. I passed her my cell phone and said “Take a look.”
Maria: Is that Belle?!
Maria: Is that Belle?!!!
Maria: She’s so beautiful. (And she broke into tears.)
Me: Aww don’t cry.
Maria: Mommy, these are tears of joy.
It was so sweet I almost cried!
After reading that email…I thought–talk about a rewarding job—this is the part that really matters!!