Friday, November 4, 2011

DIY natural African-American hair styles for Barbie. Plus: The Roundup

So In Style Grace doll (Photo:
I've written before about my struggle with my own hair. It's super-curly (kinky-curly, really), and very long—when straightened, it falls almost to my waist. My daughter inherited her father's African-American hair; though it's never been cut in her entire 7-year-long life, it barely reaches her shoulders. I keep it in sleek, two-strand twists, with beads on the ends to give them that swingy weight she loves.

A generation ago, older women would have touched her twists and lamented over the "bad hair." Even now, people reach for my youngest son's bouncy curls and marvel at how "good" his hair is. Look at most of the brown-skinned dolls on the mainstream market, and you'll see this same idea reinforced: Disney's Princess Tiana and other fashion-forward dolls have classic Barbie hair, long and glossy and straight. Even Addy Walker, the African-American American Girl Doll who escaped from slavery in the 1860s, has
longer-than-waist-length, barely wavy hair.

If you want to give your girl a doll that's rocking a pair of puffs, twist-outs, or braids, you'll probably have re-style it yourself—and that's where this awesome post from Black Girls with Long Hair, by NikG of Beads, Braids, and Beyond, comes in. She takes a couple of standard Barbies—the "So In Style"Grace and Chandra dolls—and sets about transforming their long, straight tresses into bouncy, kinky, curls.

I've written about it over at Yahoo! Shine, but basically Grace went from the standard look (above), to this:

Grace with her new 'do. (Photo: Black Girl with Long Hair via

Comb out the curls, and you end up with an awesome Afro or Halo. Read the post at Shine ("A Barbie with natural-looking African-American hair") to find out how to do it yourself.

And now, The Roundup:

On Yahoo! Shine:

On Work It, Mom!:

On 4 Kids or More:

1 comment:

fibrowitch said...

I love the new hairstyle! Quite a talented artist. As a Barbie collector I will have to take a look at the original post.

Barbie did have some dolls with African American hair, one girl with long dreads and a second with very tight curly hair. The dolls did not sell very well, and since Matell is all about making money. Well the dolls were only out for about two years time.