When you grew up in the 90s you know what I’m talking about. If not let me tell you that crimped hair were wide spread in the 1990s not just for dolls. Especially in the early 90s this was a big thing. Even my cousin had a crimping iron. I did not know about this whole trend until she explained her crimping iron to me in 1995 or 1996. I know this is rather late for crimping irons but they still exist. You can still buy them today but the trend as big as it was in the 1990s disappeared somehow. Mainly due to fashion reasons I think.
Maybe they come back in some years like many trends come back every 20 or so years. I’m showing you a pic of what I’m talking about.
Anyway Mattel used this unique hair technique to make the Barbie dolls look like they were very hot, cool, stylish, trendy. In my childhood almost all of the Barbie dolls I knew had these waves. In my world these waves had no names. One could not imagine that it might change one day with the waves. I know this sounds crazy especially when you came to Barbie later or earlier but in the 90s these crimp waves were huge. However with in the almost 3 decades that passed by since these crazy crimp waves appeared for the first time. Many dolls have somehow lost their waves. My Totally Hair Barbie suffered under this problem almost from the beginning. I think she lost her waves after being braided with a normal 3 stand braid for a longer time period. So this phenomenon is not new to me but I search for ways how to restore these waves and try to make them look like they were freshly deboxed. This is not always easy because most of the time they are missing a lot of hair in their ends due to the fact that the hair fibre used mainly is Kanekalon hair. Some rare dolls also had Saran hair and their hair stayed intact. You can see this when you search for Hollywood Hair Barbie and compare the offer with Totally Hair Barbie dolls on ebay. Hollywood Hair Barbie never had this problem. The reason is the fiber. I never understood it as a child. That’s something I learned along my way as a collector.
In the 1990s we find mainly Kanekalon hair. It’s the cheapest kind of hair that can be mass produced. Maybe that’s the reason why a lot of these 90s Barbie dolls had a huge amount of hair at first? After the first tangles they had less and less hair. That’s also the reason why the ends of the Totally Hair Barbie/ Ultra Hair Barbie can often be found with very thin ends. Tangles – the dead of every Barbie doll with Kanekalon hair. If you compare this fibre with earlier Barbie dolls from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s the 90s is the first decade where the problem of general Barbie doll hair loss appears.
Now let’s turn back to the main problem with the waves. Kanekalon as a fibre is easy to work with. You can bring the hair in any form you want and you can curl the hair with every curler or curling iron you have. The art here is to find a way that your doll hair keeps this position permanently and here my job starts. I try to show you easy to follow ways to get your doll to a shape as good as new. This is not always easy and a lot of testing is necessary for good results but you get them as soon as they are available. If you have ever tried to re-crimp Totally Hair Barbie or Ultra Hair Barbie successful let me know your recipe.
When I come across problems with broken Barbie necks there are mainly two things, very wide spread in this area. One thing is that you can find the older neck joints very often in the head of the dolls. They simply left the body and popped somehow into the head.
That’s also the first problem I ever came across when I kept my childhood dolls, got them from the attic a while ago and one of my Skippers hit the floor. So the problem that the neck joint disappeared into the head happened. The head fell off and I thought she would really be broken. I think it happened some 20 years ago. I really thought she was broken and threw her away. To be honest this was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made since starting to collect these dolls. There were no guides or indications that simply hot water would have saved this Camp Fun Skipper to be thrown away. I learned all the things that I teach you here much later. Another Skipper, my Teen Skipper was sitting for years on a stair head. One day she fell of. The head, the joint and and the body stayed intact. The only thing she got from this adventure during my absence is a very thin hairline crack. I know she has it but I ignore it and nothing will happen. She’s in one of my showcases.
But what to do when you have a case like mine? Throwing the doll away? Possible but unnecessary as I learned later. There’s a very easy solution to get at least the neck joint out of the head again. You only need a bowl with hot water, a towel and a little patience to get the joint out of the head again. The head itself is made out of rubber. When you heat it up a little bit the head becomes very flexible and it is very easy to get the joint out of the head again. That’s what you can see in the first part of the video. I recommend not to treat the broken hairline cracks if you want them to stay invisible. Often you hardly see that there are cracks when the head is back on.
What do you do when a big part of the neck is broken smoothly out of the neck? Does it make sense to throw the doll away then?
I would say no. If you don’t have the stuff to repair the body immediately it’s no problem just store the broken out piece and the body together so that you know where the body as a whole is. Maybe store it in a zip lock bag?
Good idea! That’s at least an idea how to fight against broken Barbie necks, missing joints and a solution to attack this wide spread problem. But when you want to leave this ” I put her in a zip lock bag” -status? That’s very easy said with a few words. Get yourself MEK to solve this problem. The background why not to use normal glue is that I was told by a lot of collectors that they got problems with using glue. Their arm and neck joints literally crumbled away within the years the dolls were glued. That’s why I recommend to melt it back on. MEK or 2 Butanon is a solvent. We careful when using it. It is said that this stuff can lead to cancer when using it too often. It also needs 24 hours to dry completely but I think it’s okay when we have a normal doll back after the time. For the missing joints I can recommend to replace them. Often you find replacement joints in bundles/ lots with lots of heads. In the last year it was no problem to get them. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Have you ever realized that Skipper had in the 1990s more head molds than ever before in her existence? Have you noticed that we not only have one Skipper face but at least 3 different ones in the decade?
In the begin of the decade we only have the big eyes head mold from 1987 which is also known in Germany to as the “Kulleraugen Skipper“, means simply big eyed Skipper. Somehow these eyes remember a lot of collectors to the comic or manga like outward appearance of some Japanese comics.
I don’t want to do any speculations here but maybe this comes from the fact that after having cable TV in Germany and other European countries some broadcasters bought licenses from Japan to show some classic Animés like Georgie, Lady Oscar and a lot of other series from Japan. I think this hit a nerve back then without realizing it.
I did not question the TV program, just watched back then but I had no idea that the stuff came from Japan. It was mixed with American comic series. The offer to fill a whole afternoon with comics was broad enough. However after 20 – 25 minutes there were breaks for advertising and that’s where Skipper came into the game. We had no chance to escape the ads. We had no chance to recognize that we were trapped in the advertising and always got a little brain wash. They created the wish and we the need to buy it.
It was a thing to talk in school breaks about “Have you seen this and that” advertising? But to come now back to the face molds we only had the big eyed Skipper for a while in Europe. Maybe that’s why she was popular among us little girls? From looking into all my research books I know that the Pizza Party Skipper appeared in the US in 1993 but in Europe she was not sold ( as far as I could find out). I don’t remember having seen her anywhere. The first Skipper I remember is the Phone Fun Skipper. She had this new smile in her face and I admit I was attracted by her. So I asked my mother to buy one. I can’t really remember how I got her but she’s one of the few Skipper dolls I kept from my childhood.
In retrospect I did not realize at the age they were available that this doll could ever be a rarity because she was only used for a few head molds. So that’s sometimes something that you find out much later. Much more often you saw the big eyed Skipper. At the end I think it’s not bad because I think she hit a nerve at least among us Europeans because of the Japanese comics running in TV. In retrospect I also realized that the 90s had a bigger variety of Skipper face molds than any decade before and that’s why I decided to talk about this topic.
Sometimes it’s just an idea and sometimes you put things into reality. I already had the idea to dress my new Supersize Barbie in December but the time was lacking. You know we were just preparing for the holidays, taking our annual X-mas vacation to see your parents. Bad time schedule but January came and so the time to put this plan into reality.
I don’t know how you do these things but I need time to work these things out properly. I hate it to be interrupted during my creative process so I do these projects mainly when I’m alone at home. It’s always my most creative time of day. I admit I’m a morning human. I prefer to do all the important things in the morning to make sure to get them done. I know there are different types of humans but my most productive time is the morning. So I used the last weekend of my holidays to begin with this project.
Sewing projects are always time consuming. It doesn’t matter what you do so you need a good schedule, prepare things in advance like marking and cutting the fabric, do the sewing the next day and continue so on. I prefer to have all steps to be planned in advance when I’m working so that I have a certain thing to do every day but on the same hand I can be sure to get things done.
I can give you the advice to plan more days than you will actually need because you don’t know how the result will turn out. From my experience I can tell that I had stress with finishing projects and videos more than once.
It’s a big advantage when you have several projects to work on simultaneously because you can always release at least one video a week. If you can produce in advance do it. I will have to improve my skills here because I’m always short on time. I hate it but it happens more often than planned. Don’t let anything interrupt you. The filming I did was at least two hours and I think I had to cut 10 hours to get it down to 20 minutes, correct the tone, the lighting and so on.
Nevertheless this was a project I wanted to do from heart because I don’t like my dolls to be naked. So I got to work and made the markings, the patterns and prepared the whole fabric for my sewing machine. At the end this project was very nice because my technique works so well that the Supersize Barbie has clothes now, is not naked anymore and the clothes only need a few adjustments for the perfect fit. I have to read a little bit before doing the final adjustments but for now I’m satisfied and it happens seldom enough to say this.