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.
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.
I keep my promise and do not neglect my blog like I did in the last months. Today I’d like to show you a video that might be useful when you are new in the world of Barbie doll and especially interested in Superstar Barbie (era from 1977- appr.1999). Maybe you had a Barbie doll when you were little and want to have her again. Maybe you are completely without any ideas where to look for shoes. I know it’s one of the most difficult topics. What kind of shoe belongs to what kind of outfit and how do they differ?
I think this is a good video to start with when you are new but you want to know more about shoes.
In the last months I was lucky enough to find a body for one of my rerooted heads. I rerooted the head approx. 2 years ago. I know a long time…and I had almost forgotten my head. I did another reroot in the last months and then I found my project again. At first I was unsure what kind of body to use for my project. Finally I decided to use a Cool Colours Barbie body. Here’s the result. Hope you like.
Here’s a link especially useful when you can’t differentiate between the several hand forms Mattel produced in the 1960s and early 1970s. Here’s the link itself https://dollreference.com/barbie1.html. I think it is useful because I have myself difficulties to distinguish them.