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How to fix frizzy doll/pony hair with boiling water (yup!)

how to fix frizzy doll hair with boiling water

You know how doll hair gets to be rather frizzy after a while?   It starts out all smooth and shiny and then a few years down the road, the poor toy looks like it stuck its finger into a light socket.

And no amount of brushing fixes the problem. It just goes from tangly frizz to less tangly frizz.

The other day my nieces were over and we got down our bin of ponies, which contains two dolls too.

(I’m not sure if this is still the case, but when I was a kid, Megan and Molly dolls accompanied My Little Ponies.)

my little ponies

(This is her hair post-fix, in case that wasn’t obvious!)

At any rate, Megan’s hair was pretty trashed, as you can see from the first photo above.

So, my nieces and I watched some video tutorials about fixing doll hair.   I’d read about fabric softener fixes, but since I don’t use fabric softener, I never have any in the house.

Luckily, we came across a tutorial that just called for boiling water and that seemed totally doable.

Two steps to fix frizzy hair

First, we combed all the knots out.  

Second, we boiled water, poured it into a shallow bowl, dipped the doll’s hair in, and combed it.

I’m not sure exactly what the boiling water does to the doll hair, but it’s pretty amazing how well it works.

Once the hair was all smoothed out, we towel dried it, combed it so it was laying the way wanted, and then let it dry.

fix tangled doll hair megan my little pony

What if the ends are still straggly?

The boiling water was a magical fix for most of the hair, but it couldn’t fix the straggly ends. So, I gave the doll a little trim with my hair-cutting scissors.

And voila! Her hair is SO much more manageable than before. It’s smooth and even shiny again!

megan my little pony doll hair

(Her hair is actually evenly cut…I just couldn’t get her to stand up straight for the photo!)

We’ve tried this on My Little Pony hair too, and it seems to work just as well.

See the small pony there in the middle, with a very frizzy light purple tail?

my little pony

Here what she looks like now, after boiling water and a little trim.

my little pony after fixing

So much better.

Does shampoo/conditioner help?

We also tried doing shampoo and conditioner on the hair, which seems to slightly enhance the effect of the boiling water.   However, I think the boiling water is really the key.

You can also use a hair straightener on a very low heat setting if the doll’s hair still isn’t quite smooth enough for your taste.   Just be careful not to melt the hair!

frizzy doll hair fix

Does this method work on other toy hair?

I’m not sure if this works on all toy hair, as I’m sure there’s variation in hair material from toy to toy.

However, if the toy’s hair is in terrible shape, you haven’t got much to lose. If it goes badly or is ineffective, you still won’t be worse off than you were when you started.

And considering how effective this seems to be, I’d say it’s worth the risk.

Note: I have definitely heard that American Girl doll hair is sensitive, so I wouldn’t recommend trying this method with one of those dolls unless the hair is so bad that it couldn’t possibly get any worse!

how to fix frizzy doll hair

Do let me know how it goes if you try it.   I’d love to hear!


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Friday 19th of April 2024

There is a nice lady at our church that keeps making clothes for my daughter’s 18” doll. I feel so bad because the doll’s hair was a tangled mess, but she’s wearing custom made clothes. I soaked the hair in conditioner and water so I could comb it but it was still terribly frizzy. This trick worked amazingly well to smooth out the frizz. It brushed out beautifully and I immediately styled it so it looks nice. Thanks for this tip!


Friday 19th of April 2024

Oh, I am so glad. Yay!


Saturday 4th of November 2023

You are a godsend!

I just spent the last hour sorting out my daughter's barbies hair and it worked a treat. Thank you so much!


Sunday 5th of November 2023

Oh, I'm so glad this worked out well for you. Yay!!


Saturday 28th of October 2023

The reason boiling water works is because it causes the plastic strands to revert to their original form when they first made. Voila!

Lanya in Texas

Monday 6th of February 2023

I tried this on my daughter’s pony we bought at Walmart and it worked, I may have to do it a few times and the longer I left the hair in the water, the more relaxed it got. Thank you!


Monday 6th of February 2023

Yay!! Isn't it so rewarding?


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I have been struggling getting something to work on my daughter's rapunzel barbie. It was getting this supper dry/matted texture on the bottom. I used conditioner which didn't work, then tried fabric softener which also didn't. This also didn't work. I might have to give up and just buy a new one.

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