by NikG of Beads, Braids, & Beyond

I was so excited to try the Natural Hair for Dolls Tutorial that I went out yesterday and bought a couple of straight haired So In Style Barbie Dolls. I did it a little differently than Kristl but all methods produce beautiful results. A absolutely loves all her new dolls!

Below are the two dolls I purchased. Grace (blue dress) and Chandra (white tee). I bought them both at Walmart. Grace was almost $8 and Chandra was almost $12.

Pipe cleaners in

I started by parting off a small section of hair. I wrapped the end of the pipe cleaner around the section of hair near the roots so it would stay put. I then rolled the hair on to the pipe cleaner. I left a little space inbetween as I rolled the hair on. Once I got to the ends I folded the pipe cleaner over the ends then wrapped it around once or twice and cut the remainder of the pipe cleaner off. I continued this process for about 40 minutes to an hour until I was finished. I then dipped her hair into a pot of boiling water for a 10 count,as Kristl mentions in her tutorial. I left the pipe cleaners in overnight. I removed them in the A.M. and separated her curls. I cut all the straight ends off.

Pipe cleaners in/the back

After removing the pipe cleaners

The back after removing the pipe cleaners

Separated the curls and viola! Big hair!

The back

For Chandra, I knew I wanted a different curl pattern, so I did the same exact process as above, only I parted off much larger sections so she didn’t have anywhere near as many pipe cleaners in her hair. After dipping her hair into a pot of boiling water I only left them in for about 3 hours, removed the pipe cleaners and separated the curls.

Pipe cleaners in

And out


Grace and Chandra after their makeovers.

I LOVE this!! What are your thoughts ladies? For those of you who have young children will you be giving this a try?
Check out Beads, Braids and Beyond for more natural haircare tips for kids!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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105 Comments on "Turning Barbies into Natural Hair Dolls"

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I really like it. In my childhood, I had melted many a Barbie doll head trying to curl their hair. I’ve hair to remember this for the future.


It*s so great.
I will do it 100 % !!!
I have a boy and a girl and both play with dolls, why not 😉
Where I live i never saw black dolls with natural hair. Even Black dolls with straight hair are hard to get.
I cant wait to make it for may children

Larissa your comment makes me so happy. I don’t normally comment on this site but to see a parent not hell bent on installing gender roles into their children… I felt compelled to comment. You’re going to catch a lot of flack from this (especially if you are Black) but please do not worry about that mess at all. It’s ok for little girls to play with trucks and build things out of legos and it’s ok for little boys to play parenting roles with dolls or dress them up. You’re children will be well adjusted and probably more socially… Read more »

You really shouldn’t let your boy play with dolls. Give him a ball and send him outside!!!!!!



I respectfully disagree with your comments as an early childhood educator and former preschool teacher many boys play with dolls in the dramatic play area and act out roles of mothers and fathers. It is a myth that understanding how to care for a baby even if it is a doll has an adverse effect on boys.


Let a person parent the way they wish. Your comment is unbelievably rude and harmful.


Harmful. Oh Lord…


WOW! that is amazing


Awww. I love this idea. I wish I had a Barbie like that growing up. It was soo difficult to find a black barbie…. :c)


This is so cool! I Had about 7 black barbies, 1 Theresa doll, and a blonde barbie. I feel bad that the blonde barbie’s hair lacked color, so I used a blue marker to make her beautiful. lol


Love the options, gives little girls someone they can idetify with, when I was growing up the only options I had was to cut the dolls hair into style to create options….lol


I think this is one of the neatest projects I’ve seen on BGLH :). Makes me wish I was a little girl again!


Saw this on curlynikki – It’s a good idea and good for future reference. I really wanted to ask though:

As a child if I wet the Barbie doll’s head, the hair would dry frizzy and untouchable. Does that happen with this process?


what a great idea! so cute, they look adorable

Vonnie of


This is cute. I love it. I have a son, but if I did have daughters I would so do this!


I am impressed! If I knew how to do this to my dolls 15 years ago, I might have had less of a “Straight hair” complex. The dolls look amazing with textured hair!