This week I was a little late when I started to write a new blog post and I wanted to finish it today. Now I realize my blog post was not saved … gee whiz I had so much work to do this week … I obviously forgot it but now that it’s Friday I wanted to post another blog post because 14 days passed by since my last post and I wanted to tell you about my updates. Instead of telling that new videos gonna come with delay I finally found some time to render new videos this week, actually my PC is just rendering at the moment and I have to wait for the video so I use my time to blog. Last weekend I started to work with Silicone for one of my next videos. I also want to work with Epoxide resin but I need time for it. I don’t want to make any mistakes because the stuff is very expensive I think it’s gonna be a big project, not the longest video but the things around. I already made several calls to be sure with the Silicone. I also did one for the Epoxide idea but it’s not the last one. The only problem is the working time of my contact persons. I only can call them in the morning. That causes problems when you are working full time because you’re also working but nevertheless I find a way to do it. I’ve done at least 400 – 500 phone calls this week. After closing time I felt not like doing much private phone calls.
Using the weekend to relax?
No, I’m the wrong person you should talk to when it comes to see somebody laying on a sofa. I’m almost always busy …preparing this …doingthat but I try at least to stop my work at 8 p.m. in the evening because you have to stop at least once a day for a rest and a good night’s sleep. I also try to read at least 3 pages per day in a book. The good news is that I can sleep very well at the moment and I feel relaxed after waking up.
Ideas I had for almost one year
At the moment I work on a project that came into my mind last year but I had difficulties to put it into reality because the material I used was not the right one. It has to do with the blue chunk you saw in my “projects for 2020” video. So I really thought for a long time how I could do it. In February I found a solution during a conversation with other crazy “makers”. I suddenly had a new starting point and it became much easier. That’s the video series I’m working on at the moment. I know my solution is not perfect but it will be good enough for a demonstration of my ideas. Maybe a chemist will come along and help me a little bit with knowledge???
Greetings and yeah, the crazy Barbiecollector is back with a new topic for you. Let’s talk about the hair today. Yeah, that’s what I want to talk about. I guess you never thought about the fibres on the head of a Barbie doll. I asssure you that you’re not the only one. There are different fibres that were used for different dolls in different decades. I give you a pic for every fibre as an example.
I can’t prove it because I’m no chemist but I think the first form of hair for Barbie dolls was Saran hair. Saran hair is soft and silky. In general it’s available in natural colors like different shades of blonde, brown, red and black. I can tell you from my experience in rerooting that it’s a material easy to work with. I heard collectors talking about that Vintage Barbie dolls – the very first ones – have a kind of mohair but nobody was able to proof it. So there a two fronts among the collectors – the ones who believe it and – the ones who don’t it.
I belong to the front who don’t believe it. Why? Saran hair is/was mainly produced in Japan. Guess what? Early Barbie dolls were produced until 1970 in Japan too. Mohair is more expensive. I can imagine from what I know of the Mattel history that production centralisation is/was an important factor. In times before stock reduction and in-time production I’m convinced that they used what they had in their production area or maybe in their own country due to short delivery ways, time and costs.
Importing goods is always time-consuming and expensive when you consider the import-fees and taxes. Wouldn’t it be cheaper produce with the products you have in your own country?
The material Nylon itself was discovered in the 1930s and mainly used for stockings for ladies at first. I found out that the first Nylon wigs were available in the 1960s. I found an ad on youtube. Since I only found chemical formulas I would estimate that Nylon hair was in the 1960s probably too expensive to use it for Barbie dolls. Do I have to mention that Nylon hair is very shiny and comes in thousand different colors? When you need a wig for carnival Nylon is your material. I assume from what I’ve seen so far that Nylon hair was used first for Barbie in the 1980s. The first dolls I know with this kind of hair are Barbie & the Rockers. Nylon hair was not used as widely as Saran hair was for Barbie dolls. I think it appears several times on special occasions but it was no standard.
By the mid 80s a new form of hair was avaiable for Barbie. At first only a few dolls hat Kanekalon hair. I saw a Dream Glow Barbie with it and a Doctor Barbie. Maybe these dolls were something like a test if a child would accept it or not? I don’t know it. Anyway, Kanekalon hair is one of the big topics of the 1990s. Suddenly all Barbie dolls came with Kanekalon hair. There are a few exceptions like Hollywood Hair Barbie and Strollin’ Fun Barbie and Kelly/Shelly but 98% of the production of the 1990s had Kanekalon hair. As far as I was able to find out… Kanekalon is a cheap kind of hair, easy to produce and easy to work with although it tends to tangles. Probably cheaper in the dozen.
That’s why you often see Barbie dolls with bad hair cuts from the 1990s. You find the explaination why these dolls have hair cuts in the fibre itself.
Ein Beitrag geteilt von 90s Barbie (@90s.barbie.world) am
These three types of hair were used in the last 60 years. I don’t think that there’s much going on the market. From what I’ve seen in the last decade Mattel started to use Saran hair again. The amount of hair is smaller than it was 20 years ago but Saran hair is still used as Barbie hair while Kanekalon hair and Nylon hair are almost gone.
Have you ever asked yourself why suddenly in 1980 black Barbie dolls became available? It seems that the year 1980 marked one turning point in the barbie world. The why is a really good question. I’m not 100% but I think I read in a book that a law was changed by the time of 1980 and it became possible for Mattel to produce black Barbie dolls that were called “Barbie” for the first time. Sadly I wasn’t able to find out the name of the law.
I’ve been searching on the internet for the correct information but I found nothing. The correct information is necessary I think. Anyway I don’t know if you realized it or not but before the black version of Barbie was called Christie. She’s a friend of Barbie, not Barbie herself.
In a way this is very astonishing since nobody ever thought of a black Barbie doll. That is at least my impression. What we should not forget is that she still had Caucasian features. In my opinion they are not 100% copies of their white sisters but they have a similarity of at least 70%. Of course the hair color is different. The make-up is different, adjusted to the skin tone. That’s not bad. In my eyes we got some very interesting variations through it. Let’s have for instance a look at Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie in the Caucasian version and the African-America version.
What we can see from the catalogs is that in 1980 the variety of Barbie dolls became much broader than it was before. Suddenly we saw an Asian Barbie doll and a Hispanic Barbie for the first time beside the black Barbie dolls. The range of products extended. We were introduced to the “Dolls of the world” line. Seen from a marketing point of view Mattel maybe now wanted to teach something.
What we can definitive say is that the 1980s were a decade of big variety concerning Barbie dolls. The Superstar Barbie was launched successfully in 1977 with a new head mold and maybe they wanted to enlarge the success by adding a variety of different Barbie dolls. Music became a very big topic in the Barbie world, not just as a listener but as a musician herself Barbie reinvented herself several times. Barbie and the Rockers sold well.
Seen from a point of view in 2019 the 80s are a very interesting decade for Barbie collectors. Again you find collectors who seek their childhood treasures, collectors who were not even born in that era, collectors who collect all decades and some specialized collectors (who e.g only collect the clothes from the 1980s). We find a big variety. It’s not just one topic like in the 1990s the hair- thing.
I’m sure that I’m not the only collector whose enthusiasm about this question keeps within its limits. You may ask me why? The problem is that the wrong guys ask these questions. The main problem is that the questioner have no idea of what they have and sometimes the insight that the doll is not worthwhile at all.
The 1966 marking
Believe it or not but the 1966 Barbie doll marking was used for more than 40 years and the dolls with the marking on the back are not as seldom as the ones with the 1966 marking on their butt. Furthermore the mentioning of Japan on the butt is a feature that your doll is really from the 1960s. Later the production was relocated to Korea, Taiwan and many other countries in South-East Asia. At first Japan was the cheapest country in Asia for the production. That’s why Mattel produced the dolls there after WW II.
I don’t want to disgress from the 1966 topic. The 1966 shows us only one thing. The patent for the Twist and Turn Barbie body was patented in that year. Before 1966 the legs were stiff and had no joints. The same counts for the waist. Suddenly Barbie got a moveable waist. Early Barbie dolls have no joints at all.
That’s one of the biggest problems for collectors. We don’t want to be seen as cash cows. Sorry, we don’t buy everything. We have books that tell us how old your doll is. If we don’t want it, your doll is worthless. Worth is in the eye of the beholder.
What makes Barbie dolls worthwhile?
The worth of a Barbie doll is in the eye of the beholder. Rejects, Barbie dolls from the pilot production or just samples that never to any market are highly sought after. Of course Barbie dolls that were produced for foreign markets are also interesting for some collectors. Japan, Spain or countries in Middle and South America offer a wide range of products that set a collectors heart aflutter. In Japan Mattel did in the 1960s special Barbie dolls and clothes exclusively for the Japanese market. That’s why I have some Barbie books that have Japanese Barbie dolls and clothes as the main focus. There are lots of Japanese versions of the Barbie clothes that have different fabrics, details or colors. For some collectors that’s an attraction pole. The sample Barbie dolls from the pilot production for the market test were often taken home by Mattel employees. Do I need to say that there is a market among the collectors for these dolls? I guess not.
Please don’t forget that there is the fact that there is a certain attractiveness for collectors. The harder the Barbie doll is to find or to get the more attractive the doll is. For me are Spanish Barbie dolls interesting. They are different from the normal European/Canadian versions. That’s what makes them interesting for me. The ones from India are not even completely recorded in any book. The South American Barbie dolls have a special make-up, much more eye-catching than the US versions. There are also dolls that are rare. Some of these rare Barbie dolls are Photo Fashion PJ or Hawaiian Superstar Barbie. I think Hawaiian Superstar Barbie was available in Europe/Canada only.
I can’t tell you anything about the sales figures of Photo Fashion PJ but I think she was not sold in limited quantity.
The value is what somebody is willing to pay for your doll
There’s not really a right or wrong concerning the payment. One of the important factors is the demand. You probably get more money when there is a demand for your doll. When the output figures are high the price is low. It’s not advisable to push the price.
In this article I’d like to tell you a little bit about Talking Barbie repair. I know many collectors search for information about Talking Barbie repair. I’ve done it several times. It’s not the hardest thing to do but you need dexterity, prestidigitation and patience. Of course you should also know what to do in the repair before you do your first one.
Before you do your first repair you need some useful equipment. You need governor belts in the right size, the right replacement for the pullstring, the right ferrules to reattach the flower. Some tools are useful for the repair too like tweezers, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, disposable gloves, locking forceps and package tied. Some acrylic color in the right skin tone is also useful later after the repair.
You see before you can do anything you have to invest some money. Some collectors told me that they just tried to repair the doll without any knowledge and damaged the mechanism so badly that some of them threw the dolls away. I don’t recommend it. Before you do anything become familiar with the repair. I’ve done some videos while I repaired a Talking Barbie.
The range of my videos goes from the buy or not buy decision to the cleaning of the mechanism to the repair itself and then about how to reseal the body again and reattach the limbs again.
Don’t expect that the cleaning is a fast thing to do. It can last several hours depending on the leftovers of the governor belt itself. I’ve had some easy to clean dolls and some weren’t that easy to clean. Some Talking dolls are cooperative and others don’t.
One of my first Talking Barbie was not cooperative. I tested her for days and got not the right speed for the record. I almost became mad but I found a solution for the problem. The easiest Talking doll I repaired was a Talking PJ. She started almost immediately to talk after I did the test. The mechanism itself is kind of engineering art. It’s done in a very clever way.
If there are no injuries from the outside the mechanism can hardly be destroyed but by a father with a screw. The only weak point is the leg knob. The legs tend to fall of the body but only Talking Barbie I heard it from later produced 1970s Barbie dolls too. They all can be repaired with my method.
I’m not sure why this problem is there so often but maybe it’s because of the production process or maybe the attached legs exerted too much pressure to the knobs so that they just broke. I’m not an expert but I try to find the why.
The repair is not impossible
Due to problem that many collectors try to do the repair just so, I decided to do a video series that they realize where the problem is. It’s all about the right technique and the knowledge how to do it right. There’s no need just to destroy the doll just because you want to see what’s inside the upper body.
I’m not a fan of such actions. That’s one of my reasons to make this video.
My article this week is about useful cleaning material for Barbie dolls one should have. It’s important to have some easy to use things at home when you plan to buy old Barbie dolls. There are some things in every household that are very useful when we come to the topic of cleaning a Barbie doll.
To be honest I clean every Barbie doll I get if she comes without a box. That’s sometimes a lot of work especially when you buy a whole group of dolls. Believe as a longtime collector that will occur from time to time. Not every week, not every month but occasionally. What do you need for such an occasion?
Useful cleaning products
My little survival kit is a box of Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol ( at least 70%). You use the Q-Tips for a quick sip of rubbing alcohol. It is normally used for cleaning electronic devices, especially for cleaning dirty or old contacts. I highly recommend rubbing alc. I’ve never had any problems with it until now and I got the hint in 2011.
What else is useful for use at home? I can recommend you cleaning sponges from Aldi. There are several different products that are sold under the name but it seems that the chemicals attached to the sponges are different.
I heard of collectors that got problems with these sponges but I never had any problems with them. If the Q-Tip/rubbing alc combination is not working use the sponge. It brings sometimes benefits to have one at home.
What other collectors do
I’ve heard from other collectors that they use a mild soap and a sponge to clean their dolls. In almost 23 years of collecting I’ve never done it. Why? You can’t exclude the risk that the knee joints get wet especially when you clean Twist n Turn Barbie dolls from the first generation around 1967 since the have metal knee joints that tend to oxide when you work with water. It means in the worst situation they oxide and leave an ugly brown or greenish area around the knee. It’s the goal of most Barbie collectors to prevent these stains. The only I thing I can do is warn you about problem.
The ultimate clean Barbie doll?
Well, you might ask yourself if there is the ultimate clean Barbie doll. The answer is no. This comes due to the fact that the arms, legs and the head are made from a form of PVC and rubber and it’s hard to keep rubber clean itself. I already told you that there are problems with sticky legs and leaking softener. Here’s a short video how to do it.
Is the leaking softener a problem of the age
No, the leaking softener is no problem of the age. All I know about the problem is that it’s no age problem. The probability to find it in all decades from 1959 until today is high. I’m not so familiar with chemistry but read about the phenomenon and it is said that is has to do with the mixtures they use in the production machines. Obviously the recipe was changed a bit over the decades and sometimes you have problems that appear like 1987 the cow spots, that were caused by iron shavings in the mixture.
Other useful things to have a home for Barbie cleaning
I can recommend you guest towels. They are very useful when you want a doll to dry, no matter if you washed her hair or just cleaned her with Q-Tips and rubbing alc. I don’t dress the dolls immediately afterwards. I really give them time to dry ( often over night, often a whole day). Then you can be sure that you wont get any problems with water still somewhere on the doll body. Another advantage is that you can wash the little towels easily. They don’t need as much space in the washing machine as a normal towel needs. Even if there is a stain caused by a doll, it’s no problem because it’s just a guest towel. ( I never had this problem myself )
In my next article I’d like to continue where I stopped last week with the hair topic. Repair is not limited to hair. There are other problems every collector has to deal with like green ears.
The awful green ears
I think there’s almost nobody out there who doesn’t know the problem – green ears – just awfuuuuuuuuuuuuul. It’s not only a problem of Vintage Barbie limited to the years 1959 until 1967. Nope, that’s also a problem of modern collector Barbie dolls with earrings. By the way the problem exists in the human world too. When you buy earrings but not made out of silver or gold, you buy the problem. Costume jewelry earrings tend to have this problem because the metal reacts with our skin. We can’t exclude to sweat or transpire. As long as we do so the problem will occur. In the case of Barbie it’s similar. She can’t sweat but the rubber of the head is/was in permanent contact with the earrings. I don’t know exactly what the early earrings with the pearl ends were made of. I guess it was copper or a similar metal because copper tends to show green discolorations after a while. Think of church roofs. In Germany we have many clock towers roofs or bell towers roofs made out of copper.
Why green ears appear
I think the copper reaction works like this … when the roofs are exposed to nature for a while with sunshine, rain, snow, hail, frost and wind the copper reacts with all the wheather influences. It seems that it’s very a similar thing with the Barbie earrings. The reaction doesn’t come immediately but after a while. Let’s say the child stopped to play with her early Barbie and the Barbie was stored in a garage or on an attic, not really exposed to the elements but let’s say the roof is not well isolated and when there is frost the doll also is exposed to it. Frost has to do with water that changed its physical state then we should have no doubts that the reaction of the earrings comes from the water/humidity on the attic. These early earrings were not tested for any green effects on dolls. As I read again today it was all a matter of costs. It was easy to produce in Japan because the wages were low after WWII there. When we guess they used cheap earrings it’s very clear why the phenomenon appears. They used cheap metal. In the early years Barbie was just produced as a toy, not considered for collectors.
How we can solve the problem and treat the ears
Now that we know the reason why the green ears appear, we can solve the problem. Nevertheless the biggest problem is that Mattel used different chemical mixtures for the heads. It seems that the material changed a bit from doll to doll. Bubble Cut Barbie dolls are easy to cure. When you want to learn how to fix them just buy Clearasil cream and smear it onto the ears and put the doll in the sun. The more sun, the better.
With Ponytail Swirl Barbie dolls it’s another story. Although I’m no chemist I assume that the material is different. Why? I tested it and I got a great Ponytail Swirl with original hair do but she had green ears. I wanted to treat her. Result? The procedure lasted more than two summers. In the first one I hardly put her outside on my balcony because I was afraid of forgetting her. In 2017 my Bubble Cut head was stolen by a bird after forgetting it on the balcony over night. That was not what I wanted for my Ponytail Swirl. So sad if she had been stolen. My plan this year was to put her outside in the sun but only for the time I was at home. My first test last year contained Clearasil cream, Benzaknen ( a cream for acne treatment with 10% peroxid for bleaching available in Germany), Remove Zit. I stared with Clearsil and then came to the idea that Clearsil does not work here. So I changed to Benzaknen, had to stop my test during the winter and wait for spring since the winter here is always very foggy and sunless. This spring I put her in the sun with fresh Benzanknen, changed it every day but I had only little success. I wanted to use Remove Zit as well but the summer was over before I had the time to do so. From my experiences on Superstar Barbie I can say that Zit leaves ugly stains. You need another chemical counterpart to get rid of the stains. That’s why I’m careful with Remove Zit.
That was the first video I made about the Ponytail Swirl green ear problem but had no idea that it would last that long to cure her. In the meantime I removed the green ears. A hint from another collector helped. She used Poliboy Gold & Silberbad for her head and the green ears vanished within 14 days. I had similar success. One of my books recommend Haggerty Silver bath for the treatment. Two products available in different countries under different names? Other collectors from the USA have reported that they use CLR (Calcium Lime Rust remover) with the old formula and had success too. A video with my results is planned in the next weeks about my success. I still have to do some X-mas present preparations before I can come back and do full time video cutting.
Problems with the availability of products
I heard from some other collectors that not all products I refered to in this article are globally available. We can e.g. buy liquids like CLR only with a ton of difficulties. We have to pay for shipment, go to the donahue and pay VAT. The limit to import goods for free ends at 22 € including shipping. Poliboy is not available in the USA. That’s why I double checked my books and found Haggerty. Maybe the information is useful to some of you. Remove Zit is hard to get in Germany and the dealer want very much money for it. I got mine several years ago and paid around 30€ . The best before date is soon after you buy it. There’s no label with ingredients on the box.
How to get rid of the problem
Remove the earrings from the head. Treat the head like described above. Some collectors use transparent nail polish before they use the earrings again and paint them with nail polish so that the head and the earring have no contact with each other. You can just let them out and put them on the doll stand.
When a modern Collector Barbie has signs of green ears, remove the earrings and put them in a little bag. Try to avoid contact with the clothing of the doll. I put them in little zipper plastic bags in the box of the doll. Don’t treat the dolls, just let them rest in their boxes. The green often vanishes itself without any procedure. I’ve done a video on this topic too.
When you’re a collector of LEO India Barbie dolls, this information is helpful to you too. I recommend to remove the earrings of Indian Barbie dolls as well because the golden earrings are made of some real metal that can cause pale heads. Only a few collectors know about the problem. Whenever you get Barbie dolls from India take the earrings out.
Some Barbie collectors do repairs themselves and some don’t. The ones who repair the dolls maybe consider themselves as very talented. That’s often not the truth. Some of them only have better techniques and know what things to use for Barbie repair. Sometimes you only need the faith to believe in what you’re doing. Some of the things exist in every household.
I don’t want to go too much in depth in this article. I just want you give an overview what is possible to do diy.
Hair repair & restoration
It is not so hard to repair Barbie hair. The only exceptions are melted hair and Color Magic Barbie hair. Color Magic hair is very fragile or it at least has become very fragile over the decades. We shouldn’t forget that it’s fifty years old now. Frizzy Barbie hair can easily be treated with conditioner. You put the conditioner in and work your way through the hair with a comb. The hair should be lovely after treatment again. I made a video about frizzy hair some months ago. Just watch it and you’ll understand how easy it is to do. It’s a great method to remove tangles.
Another thing you can do with Barbie hair is to restore a gone hair style like the flips from the 1960s and 1970s. The curls can appear again when you know the little tricks how to do them. Another example I’d like to show you is my Francie flip video. In this video I show you what to use as little curlers for her hair.
That’s not all you can do yourself. No, I’m no professional hairdresser but I learned in the last decade a lot about Barbie hair. So, what can you do when the hair is cut? Then you have two options. You can make the best out of the cut or you can give her a reroot. A reroot is practically to give her new hair.
For a reroot you can use replacement hair. You can buy hair for Barbie dolls in several shops online. I can give you the name of some of them like restoredoll.com ( have ordered there myself), I bought a lot from mylittlecustoms.com ( but the shop is almost sold out every time I look around). There are several other online shops for Barbie hair but I have not bought from all of them. When I buy hair, I order a lot of hair and then I have a stock at home. I used the loop & lock technique for rerooting (giving Barbie new hair). It’s what the sewing machine in the factories did ( but much faster).
Problems with Superstar Barbie dolls
Of course please don’t forget to plan enough time and use the right needles for your restoration. The ones I use are called “doll needles”. It’s a pack that contains three needles. I use the shortest of all three. The other two are bigger and I don’t want to destroy or enlarge any precut holes in the head. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s a hard task. You often find the problem with the holes when you work with late Superstar Barbie dolls. They have so many holes and so many hair that it’s very difficult to keep everything in perfect condition.
Another problem can dissolving make up be. In some Barbie faces the make up comes off. Certain countries are known to have this problem like Spain. US versions usually don’t have the problem. So don’t say I haven’t warned you. Maybe I can figure out the origin of the problem in the next weeks. Anyway I’d like to give you this information before it’s too late. When the make up of Barbie starts to crumble within a reroot it’s hard to stop.
Incredible possibilities to be creative
Doing reroots can give you incredible possibilities to make OOAK Barbie dolls. You can use any color you find for your reroot but I recommend to use Saran or Nylon hair with good quality. Why? The hair looks more natural than cheap wig hair for carnival. You can buy the length you want and need. You can mix different hair colors. Creating unique Barbie dolls is no problem. The only thing you need for this is your fantasy.
In general it’s no problem to insert new lashes to old Barbie dolls. I recommend to use a normal needle for the replacement. I’ve used black Saran hair for my restorations yet. Insert long hair. It’s easier to work with long hair than short hair. Don’t forget that you can always cut the hair afterwards. My technique here is also the lock and loop technique.
That’s the easiest technique imitating a sewing machine with your hands. It’s clear that not everybody has a special sewing machine for hair at home. These machines need lots of space and are very expensive. The easiest way to solve the problem with your hands with the lock & loop technique.
Can you imagine that you find yourself in a maze and don’t know how to get out? That’s how I feel sometimes when I get new parcels for new projects.
In a positive way you can leave your every day life behind you for a while and spend time with Barbie dolls.
It can also feel a little bit like “Hey, there’s so much work to do.Why don’t you move your ass?”
Sometimes I also feel like a gold digger from the last gold rush, you know somebody who can’t stop to work because when you don’t work today you don’t have anything to eat tomorrow. ( I know a strange imagination)
What makes it even harder is the fact that I’m still looking for a full time job (I wonder if there is the right job somewhere for me. The last job interviews were rather deterrent than inviting)
Hey but nevertheless I continue working on my projects and on new videos, guys. Do you know these feelings?
I have a new lot that I’d like to show you . Here are some pics for my new Barbie and Barbie body projects …
Last week I did a repaint in the blurring summer heat. It was not just a repaint for me but one I plan to make a video about and it was so hot that the thinned acrylic color dried very fast. Let’s say it dried faster than one could paint. This has never happpened to me before but it was a very interesting thing to see. I really had to paint very fast. I prefer to do it in a slow way. This was a new experience to me. Interesting but not to refer to any beginner of repaints. Nevertheless I managed it.