Skip to main content

Doll Hair and How To Re-Root It.


Why Re- Root Your Doll?

The most obvious reasons to re-root a doll's hair is because it has become so tangled that it resembles dreadlocks, has been given a very bad hair cut or the doll's head is missing some plugs (small clumps of hair).

Another reason to re-root could just be because you think he or she would look better with different colour or textured hair.

Here's my reasons for re-rooting my dark-skinned Little Big Eyes doll.

She was bought new in a sealed box, but when I took her out I discovered there was three things I didn't like about her hair.

Firstly, It had an almost greasy texture and was lank.

Secondly, It was very sparse, so she looked like she had alopecia in some places!

And thirdly, These dolls are made of two different plastics. The scalp, arms and legs are made of a lighter, softer type to the one the manufacturers used for the body and head.

When the scalp is attached to the head it has a seam line all around it and as it is a few shades ligther than the face this is very noticeable. Especially as the hair was too sparse to cover it.


Types of Doll Hair

And ways to use them.

Before deciding which method to use - You will need to think About what type of hair your doll would look better with.

There are several types of hair for re-rooting on the market.

The best ones for re-rooting are:

HUMAN HAIR: It Comes in a variety of colours, is most suited to making wigs for antique/ Composition and porclain dolls, but can also be threaded through a the eye of a needle so is good for re-roots too.

SARAN (also known as) KATSILK: Comes in a great range of colours; from natural shades to neon and even 'Glow-in-the-dark'!

Used on Barbie, Aston Drake Tonner and other Mattel dolls.

Works well on Sindy, Bleeding Edge, Blythe, Little Big Eyes and My Little Pony manes and tails.

MIXED: This is a combination of two or more colours mixed together to create a more interesting hair colour.

You can buy this ready mixed or chose your own combinations and do it yourself for a truly original doll hair colour!!

NYLON: Less oily than saran, but similar in the sense that it comes in a huge variety of colours from natural to neon and has a similar feel.

Scroll to Continue

Used for My Little Pony manes and Tails, Aston Drake Gene Dolls and other Hasbro dolls.

Can also be used on a variety of other dolls (see list for Saran.)

PRE-CURLED NYLON/SARAN: Best left to the experienced re-rooter as it can become very tangled during the re-rooting process.

POLYPROPYLENE: - Identical in feel and look to Nylon.

MOHAIR: Comes in several varieties and many colours.

Can also be dyed to your preferred colour.

BRAIDED MOHAIR: Comes pre-plaited, to give a wavy effect. Can be rooted or used to make wigs for antique/composition dolls.

STRAIGHT MOHAIR: Usually sold in ounces and as one continuous length, which you can cut to your preferred length.

Works well on older dolls, but also looks good on Blythe and Little Big Eyes; giving a thick bushy effect.

CURLY MOHAIR: Several different varieties of curly mohair are available. Braided mohair is sometimes sold as curly too.

Curly mohair comes in 1 ounce bags and can be used for Re-Borning, Blythe sized dolls and fantasy figures; such as Trolls and Elves.

TIBETAN LAMBSWOOL MOHAIR: Sold on patch of skin called a plate.

Colours range from natural to neon. It is perfect for Re-Borning, Fairies, Elves, Blythe, Little Big Eyes and other dolls.

The plate can be cut and glued to the dolls head or the hair can be removed from it and used for re-rooting.

N.B - Use on Blythe and Little Big Eyes, only if you want doll to have 'Afro' effect hair.

ALAPACA ROVING: Comes in 1 ounce bags, in one continuous length, which works out to approximately 5 foot length!

VISCOSE: Can be bought straight or curly; short or long and comes in a variety of colours.

STRAIGHT VISCOSE: Can be rooted and styled, made into wigs or for period costume dolls hair.

CURLY VISCOSE: Can be used as hanging ringlets or for beards.

Viscose is perfect for use on miniatures (Doll's House Dolls), and fantasy dolls, such as fairies or elves.

Its one drawback is that it is very fine so is only suitable for a doll which is for display.

WAVY LOCKS: A shimmering wavy doll hair made of viscose, is fine like spider silk.

Works best when used on 1940s/1950s dolls.

Other Types of Hair Available / suitable for Doll Hair Projects Include:

WOOL: it is possible to buy wool in skeins, which can be used in the same way you would for a straight mohair re-root. Or sewn into or glued onto the dolls head in the case of older or fabric dolls.

YARN: While this can be used for re-roots it is most suitable for rag doll or dolls house miniature's hair. It's also a good type of hair to use on polymer fantasy figures.

CARACUL: A short curly fur which works well on Antique/Composition baby dolls. Although as I have never used it I am not sure of whether it can be used for re-roots or just glued in place.

SILK ROVING: Use to give a fine downy hair to baby dolls when Re-Borning. Glue to attach to head.

CURLY ROVING: Comes as a braid, could possibly be used for a re-root but more commonly glued into place.

KANEKALON FIBRE: Synthetic hair sold for Human use for Afro Hair and for hair extensions, this type of hair is perfect to use when making a head full of plaits - because of it's volume, when used for doll's hair it tends to "puff up" but this can be easily rectified if it is an issue. another plus side with this type of hair is that it is relatively inexpensive and also comes in a wide range of colours.

MERINO WOOL ROVINGS; Can be used to give your doll "Dreadlock" style hair. This comes in a huge range of colours and can be rooted into doll's head, made into a wig or glued into place.

UNSPUN FLEECE; Similar to Merino Wool Rovings in it's look but comes in more natural colours than Merino Wool. May be used in exactly the same way.

SPUN YARN; A natural wool, which can be separated and rerooted, turned into a wig or glued in place.

For a Great Range Of Doll Hair Colours And Types At A Great Price Check Out:

    nylon doll hair, saran doll hair, scented doll hair, curly doll hair, Barbie doll hair, Pony doll hair.
    Restore And Display Your Favourite Vintage Fashion Dolls!
  • Doll restoration and supplies
    Specializing in Genuine Katsilk / saran Doll Hair in over 83 different colors for rerooting or restoration. Restore your doll to original or make her one of a kind.

How to Re - Root

...Tools required, Preparation and My Re-Root Methods

Now I've told you the about the different types of hair available and you have an understanding of their uses...It's time I told you how to go about it!


Tools Required for Re-Rooting

Any doll can be re-rooted providing it is possible to remove the head from the body, and is not an old painted hair type doll.

There are several tools you can buy specifically designed for the purpose of re-rooting but I find the job can be done just as easily with a Large Eyed Darning Needle,A Pair of Sharp Sissors, A Large Eyed Curved Mattress Needle, Crochet Hook, A Pair of long nosed Pliers, A Pair of Tweezers or a combination of these.

The type of tool you chose will depend on the type of hair you plan to use and the size of the dolls head...for example:

If you have a doll of 12 inches and wish to re-root in Mohair you will probably find it easier to use a Crochet hook to pull the hair through the scalp.

Note: The Crochet hook needs to have a hook small enough to go through the holes in the dolls head.

If on the other hand the doll is 'Barbie' sized, then a darning needle or curved mattress needle will do the job.

Another really important thing you need before you take on this kind of project is Patience - Re-rooting a doll even a small one, takes a long time...but if you are prepared to put in the time to complete the task the results will be well worth it!!


Preparing The Doll's Head For A Complete Re-Root

The very first thing you need to do is remove the head from the body.

If you are removing hair which you might want to use on another doll, then tie the hair in a ponytail and cut it off as close to the scalp as possible.

Store in a clear bag (food bags work well) in a box or tin.

If the hair is unusable or you do not want to keep it, then just cut it off as close to the scalp as you can and discard it.

Use the sissors to trim the remainder as close to the scalp as you possibly can.

Using a pair of tweezers, or crochet needle - work from the inside of the head and scrape out all the hair.

Make sure the inside and outside of the head are completely free of hair before you begin the next step.

* Your doll's head should look like the ones in the picture.


How to Root Your Chosen Hair

- My Re-Root Methods.

The principles remain the same regardless of the size head you are about to re-root, although you may find for a larger doll you will need to adapt these somewhat, by using a bigger needle etc.


For a Barbie doll sized head, use a curved needle.

If the doll is larger than that, use a large hole darning needle instead.

Thread a small amout of your chosen hair through the needle's eye - just enough to fill the hole.

Place the tip of the needle against the hole and push through, until it comes out of the neck hole.

You may need to use the pliers to grip the needle and pull it through.

Remove needle and tie a knot in the hair.

You may need to add a dab of glue to it as some hair types won't stay knotted!

If this is the case then just add a small dab of glue and pinch it dry.

Remove any excess hair from around the knot.

Pull hair back through from top of head.

Repeat until Whole head is covered.

* Picture shows partial viscose re-root and Viscose skein.


Tibetan Lambswool Mohair...My Re-root Method 1

Cut required thickness off the plate.

The end which as attached should be made into a small loop and threaded through the eye of a Darning needle.

Sew through hole.

You may need to use pliers to pull the needle through.

As this type of hair is usually quite short... it might help to keep one finger pressing the hair against the head as you pull the needle through.

Take off needle, make knot and glue it.

Trim off any excess hair from around the knot.

Pull back through top of head.

Repeat until whole head is covered.

*Picture shows Tibetan Mohair Plate.


Tibetan Lambswool Mohair ... My Re-root Method 2

Put crochet hook inside doll's head and push through one of the holes.

Cut required thickness from plate.

Tie a knot in the end and glue in place.

Place knot on the outside of the dolls head, close to the hole the crochet hook is inside.

Hold end of hair tight to head.

Take hold of the crochet hook and turn it until it catches hold of the knot.

Pull through hole.

Remove hook.

Pull hair tight.

Repeat with all holes until the whole of the head is covered.

**The important thing to remember with any re-root method is that the inside of the dolls head should contain as little hair as possible or the head may not fit back on! **

* Picture Shows an expression's doll with partial Tibetan Lambswool Re-root.

For more images of this little lady and info on how else I customised her, take a look at my Blog Post:

For more images of this little lady and info on how else I customised her, take a look at my Blog Post:

Tibetan Lambswool re root - the finished article

Here's how she looked with a full head of extremely soft and luxurious hair.

After I finished with her hair, I designed and hand sewed her an outfit, hand painted a treat bag and made her some miniature "treats" to go inside!

If you'd like to look her over properly, she's on my Blog, here:

  • Ooak Trick or Treater Expressions Doll
    The Hair re-root took a couple of weeks to complete in Tibetian Lambswool Mohair. But the effect was just what I wanted, as it naturally stands up and is so so soft to the touch too!
Barbie - partial re-root in Nylon.

Barbie - partial re-root in Nylon.

Pedigree Sindy re-root in Fairy's Breath Nylon

Pedigree Sindy re-root in Fairy's Breath Nylon

Sindy - partial re root in saran

Sindy - partial re root in saran

Finished Sindy Re-root using Saran Hair

The hair I used was actually from a Hair Grow Barbie - it's a refill which I removed from the velcro strip and threaded through this "hard head" Sindy doll's head, as this doll is a "hard head" type Sindy it took a lot longer and was at times painful to re-root, as this type of head is very hard to get through but it's not impossible and the end result I'm sure you'll agree was definitely worth it!

Hasbro Sindy re-root in Pillarbox Red Saran She's also had her lips & Eyebrows repainted.

Hasbro Sindy re-root in Pillarbox Red Saran She's also had her lips & Eyebrows repainted.

Kurhn Re-root in Auburn Redwood Saran

Kurhn Re-root in Auburn Redwood Saran

My Little Big Eyes as bought

Here she is before I took her out of the box and decided I didn't like her hair!


Out of the Box and Re dressed!

Notice the seam around the top of her head and the way her hair hangs limp?


First "official" Re-Root

I decided she would look nice with a Tibetan lambswool re-root.

I also made her a new coat ... here she is modelling them both!


I changed my Mind!

After several days I still wasn't happy.

The Tibetan Lambswool, although lovely and soft with a slight curl to it, looked pretty good and felt really nice to the touch.

But I felt it was too short. So I decided to remove it all and re-root her again!

This time I used some nylon fake hair which is sold in bulk for use in braiding and hair extensions on human heads.

As it is made with afro hair in mind, it also has a curl to it.

It took about 4 days to re-root her head completely but I am very happy with the results.


Kurhn reroot using Kanekalon Fibre

As you can see from the photo this type of hair is very "bushy" when finished, this is due to the fact that it is a very full type of hair as it is designed to match into or be used with Human Hair and Afro hair in particular.


Kurhn Doll with Kanekalon Fibre re-root

The first picture was taken is of the hair when I'd just finished re-rooting and this one is how it turned out post "treatment"!


Vintage Scottish National Costume doll reroot in Kanekalon Fibre

She's also been given "shaved hair" using a "flocking effect" which a friend on Flickr kindly told me how to do.


Vintage Sindy Clone Doll in Pre-Curled Nylon.

This type of hair is also easy enough to use, the only thing you must remember is which way you'd like the curls to fall when done - prior to starting the re-root, as if you do not keep this in mind you could very easily end up with a doll with extremely "tussled" hair or if you're really unlucky, follicularly resembling Medusa!


Bratz Babyz with Cyber Punk Dreaklocks

Although this doll wasn't re-rooted I thought I'd include her to give you an idea of the type of effect you can achieve by using both natural and man made hair in combination.

Her Dread falls were made using a mixture of synthetic human hair extensions and brown spun yarn and unspun blue fleece.


Bratz Babyz "Dread Falls"

Using a combination of Kanekalon, blue dyed Wool Yarn and Unspun Wool I gave her some CyberGoth style Dread Falls after painting some cobalt blue highlights onto her moulded hair.

Doll Making on Amazon!!

Customising Zoey

There is a tendency for Little Big Eyes owners to customise their doll to look more like a Blythe.

Little Big Eyes are a cheaper and in some ways nicer Blythe type doll.

This video shows how one owner customised a 'First Series' L.B.E so that it looked more 'Blythe like', or as I like to put it..."Blything Up for L.B.E!!",

The L.B.E in my pictures is from the second series released and is different under the scalp.

There is no cap on the second series doll.

The button at the back of the head is pressed to change the eye colour.

Here's where you'll find out what I'm selling right now. Or you can click on my name to read my Dvd and Cd reviews, My Blog or just general information about me.

Reader Feedback - Please let me know if this guide helped you.

anonymous on September 24, 2014:

oh, please!please!please! get me some suitable rerooting hair.

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on January 31, 2013:

@anonymous: Hello Bree,

I'm not sure if it will flatten out as you continue, I've never held a Moxie Doll and so do not know what their hair is made of, but I can tell you a trick I use, which works on most types of "fashion" or "play" doll's hair, and that is - once you've finished, if it looks a little messed up then take a small bowl with around a cupful of fabric conditioner inside (enough to cover all the hair) and place the doll hair down into it for an hour or two, take the doll out, check if the hair is feeling softer - if so rinse and style... if not place her back inside and leave her for another couple of hours or overnight if it really is a mess, you could even try combing it flat while it is covered in the conditioner - then rinse and it should look and feel as good as new!

Hope that helps..

J x

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on January 31, 2013:

@anonymous: Hello Clare, sorry for the very late reply - I got locked out of Squidoo! Anyhoo, Sadly some dolls have hair that does that, most dolls hair will eventually get like that, but for a "play" doll such as Barbie it takes much longer - I think this is due to Madame Alexander dolls being more of a collector doll than a play doll and are therefore not designed to have their hair styled often etc. But I digress, in answer to your question; Firstly, I have no idea about "Wig condioner" I just soak my dolls hair in a pot of "Fabric conditioner" (taking care not to allow the dolls head to come into too much contact) then rinse after a few hours or overnight if its really bad.. brush and restyle!

Secondly: Rerooting with your own hair would be just the same as using a man-made hair - as I am not 100% sure which particular doll your daughter has (lucky girl though!) I cannot say for sure how easy it would be - I'd be happy for you to contact me privately though and if you mail me an image or too I'll be able to give you better advice... To secure the hair (if using the thread through method) just make sure you have enough of the hair coming out of the neck end of the head to be able to work the strands into a knot (as you would do with thread) then pull the knot back up using the rest of the strand which is hanging out of the top of the doll's head as long as your knot is tight, once the knot is brought back (inside) and flush with the doll's scalp it will stay, but if you are worried it wont you can further secure it by putting some glue inside the head once you have finished re-rooting.

You are so right, I should do a video one day soon when I have a bit of time, for now though I'm happy to talk you through it - its really not so complicated I guess I just made it sound that way! sorry :(

The type of hook or needle you use would depend on two things: 1 - the thickness of hair being used and 2 - whether the doll has a hard or soft scalp.

There are "special re-root tools available now, but I have never used them, so I cannot vouch for their ease of use or effectiveness, all I can tell you is I, 9 times out of 10 will use a "Darning Needle" or "Embroidery Needle" as these have large eyes and are longer and easier to pull through the scalp... the size of this will depend on how big the hole in the dolls scalp are, if they are small you would not want to stretch them by using a large eyed needle.

Yes you are right, but I see what you mean, it confused me too reading that and I've been re-rooting for over 11 years now!

It's like this: Thread just enough hair into your needle's eye to fill the hole in the doll's scalp, then (from the outside) push the needle into the scalp, catch hold of it as it comes out the other side and pull (not too fast through or you'll take all the hair with it!) then knot the end that's coming out of the doll's neck hole... Now you take the other end of the piece of hair that's coming out of the hole on top of the doll's head and pull on it gently, as it rises back through the scalp hole the knot will get closer and closer to the inside of the dolls scalp, once it reaches it (you'll be able to feel this) start the process again on another hole... it is time consuming, but you'll get there and you'll be happy you did!

Also, as you are planning to use Human Hair for your doll, you will be able to use Human Products to wash and condition it, which are not advisable for use on man made doll hair (just thought I should add!) ...

Good uck, and please let me know if you need any more help, J x

anonymous on January 29, 2013:

Hiya. I just started doll modification and It's going well on the body part and I am doing a rerooting on two of my subject (both are monster high dolls) I got all the hair out and am doing a re rooting but my problem is the hair I am using is recycled from a moxie doll and it is sticking out everywhere. How do I flatten it out is my question. I mean will it get better as I continue to re root it? Or is there something I can do after re rooting that will straighten and flatten it out?

anonymous on January 15, 2013:


My daughter was given a Madame Alexander doll as a gift and the hair is horrible. It has never gotten wet, but it is dredded up and I spent 2 hours the first time and within two weeks it was ruined again. I bought a wig conditioner, which didn't help at all. I have about 20 inches of my own hair that I cut years ago and thought that I would like to reroot it with that.I read your article and am still confused about how to secure it once I get it do you knot it? A video would be great on something like this (I am a hands on learner) I have crochet hooks and can purchase any necessary needle. Am I assuming correctly that once I pull it through (from the inside out, that I knot the end that is going inside the head, and then pull from the outside, or am I going from the outside (near the scalp) and then knotting it and then pulling it from the same end. It even sounds confusing as I write it :( Thanks

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on December 20, 2011:

@anonymous: I've been thinking about your Pebbles doll June and I have come up with 2 options I would use in your case...firstly the head could possibly be removed by the "Bratz head removal system" I.e: Soak in very hot (not quite boiling water) for several minutes before trying to remove it. If this is not an option, you could try the method I used for the Tibetan Lambswool Mohair ( My Re-root Method 2). The tools required would again depend on the size of your doll's head, but in general; Take a few strands of hair and roughly measure against the size of the missing hair plug (hole), once satisfied, place a knot in one end (slightly bigger than the hole) - for extra stability you could also glue & dry the knot first. When ready place knot over the hole and push into hole using a needle or similar object. Once the knot is completely inside the head, gently pull up on the hair to bring it up to the top of the head (inside) and then repeat with the next hole...

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on December 20, 2011:

Hi Feather,

Thank you for reading my lens and for your comment.

In answer to your question: Yes Kanekalon can be used fine; it is one of the things I use a lot of (unfortunately I hadn't thought of trying it when I wrote this lens or I would have included it!). The thing you have to remember with Kanekalon is it is thicker and as it often comes with a slight kink to it you will need to counteract the frizz once your doll is re-rooted or you'll have a big and I mean BIG (the 80's had nothing on this) type hair do! The best way to do this is to hold the doll over the sink (hair falling downwards) and pour boiling water onto the Kanekalon hair (remember to be careful of fingers - also please be careful of dolls head as too much boiling water can cause harm to certain plastics) If you wish you can also finish up (once dry) with a pair of hair-straighteners; you will need to pour the water and "straighten" several times most likely so don't expect it to look right first go.

Also this type of hair is much heavier and therefore your doll's head will be much heavier after re-rooting in Kanekalon - this could cause neck joint problems on smaller dolls. Hasbro Sindy takes this type of hair very well but again the finished head did end up quite heavy and subsequently doesn't sit 100% right now...This is totally my own fault tho' as I do tend to use a lot of the hair when re-rooting - so my advice is true to use less per hole if you can. - Hope this helps -

anonymous on December 19, 2011:

Is kanekalon suitable for re-rooting?

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on August 11, 2011:

Hi June, I cannot say for certain at this present time as I haven't seen your you have any pictures of her? I have a contact button if you click the bold J-Aka-Herbie and look under the picture on my profile. Perhaps you could email me a pic' and I'll try to suggest something. Btw is her head joined to her neck or does the head actually move? As some dolls heads can actually be taken off even tho' they're wedged on pretty tight (think Bratz!) Anyhoo, let me know and I'll help how I can! Cheers, J x

anonymous on August 09, 2011:

I have a Pebbles doll that needs new hair, but, the head cannot be removed. What method can I use to restore the most original looking hair for it?

Stacy Birch on May 12, 2011:

Cute lens and great looking dolls.

J-AKA-Herbie (author) on August 02, 2009:

[in reply to loraine]

Lol cheers Girl!!


anonymous on August 02, 2009:

nice work herbs xx

anonymous on June 05, 2009:

[in reply to Tina]

Hi Tina,

I posted a link to your website when I wrote this!!

But don't worry I will be visiting soon as I have a couple of Khurn's who are begging for re-roots!!

All the best Herbs x

anonymous on June 04, 2009:

If you need saran, nylon, polypropylene, acetate, or mohair doll hair, please visit my site, :)

anonymous on May 27, 2009:

[in reply to chefkeem]

Thank you so much chefkeem!!


anonymous on May 27, 2009:

[in reply to Linda]

Thanks for your comment Linda I'm glad I could help you!

That's a neat trick just taking a few hairs that won't be missed to transform another...I do that if I can ... It can be quite tricky trying to match up hair colours esp' if you're buying online as monitor colours vary...ho hum!

Thanks again for your comment and good luck in all your rootings!

It gets kinda addictive lol once you've done one!!

anonymous on May 27, 2009:

[in reply to MaireAilbhe]

oh wow...thank you so much I'm glad you like my lens & that you find it useful *Grin*

I had to stop myself from yelling nooooo when I read you were planning to throw away dolls *lip starts to tremble*

Please let me know how you got on and if you need any more tips etc as you attempt is pretty fiddly the first time but it gets better *grin*

Btw... I know it's cheeky to say but if you do feel like getting rid of dolls please let me know I'm an avid doll collector lol as you can probably tell from my pic's *grin*

Good luck & thanks again,

J x

anonymous on May 27, 2009:

Wow, what a great article!! I have some Darci dolls that are in awesome condition except for missing plugs of hair. I figured I'd have to throw them out because they look awful with their bald spots. But this makes me hopeful that I can actually fix them myself! :-) Thank you so much for publishing this! :-D

Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on November 04, 2008:

A hearty SquidAngel Blessing for your great instructions on this lens. 5*s :-)

anonymous on October 23, 2008:

Hello, I was glad to hear that I could do a reroot with just ordinary item from home. I just needed to reroot a few strands of hair in the front of a Strawberry Shortcake Angel Cake doll. I just clipped a couple of long strands from another white haired doll, that will never be missed, for the hair I needed. Thanks again for the info. Linda

anonymous on June 23, 2008:

No problem...glad to be of assistance!! lol

anonymous on June 23, 2008:

Thank you so much for your helpful. I really appreciated.

anonymous on March 15, 2008:


Glad to hear it!

anonymous on March 15, 2008:

Thanks a lot! You really helped me!!!!!!!!!

Related Articles