Op Shop Dolls: Zoe’s Dolls Part One

Zoe is the six-year-old daughter of one of my fellow Op Shop volunteers. Zoe’s mum Donna recently brought in a bag of dolls that she says Zoe doesn’t want any more. As they all require some attention she left them for me rather than putting them out on the shelves. Dolls rarely get put out without being run by me first. As a lot of Zoe’s dolls came from the Op Shop in the first place it is possible that at least one or two of these are on their third go-round so I wanted to give them a hand to look their best for the next set of owners.

Amongst this group, we have one twist and turn Barbie and two more recent ones, two Simba Steffi Love girls, three unidentified (so far) dolls and one rather surprised looking Ken doll. Ken is the only one who is dressed so I will be raiding my fashion doll wardrobe to dress the others when they are done.

There is some wild hair going on here.

The girls most serious problems are hair, on all of them, marker on the faces of a couple and they are a bit grubby, they may have been played with outside. One Barbie has a chewed hand but I can’t do anything about that. If her hair and face come up alright she will go back to the shop. I don’t think I have a spare body to donate at present. If I can’t fix her well enough she may become an experimental Barbie to practice different things on. It’s always handy to have one of those lying around.

The Clean Up Begins

I decided to start by washing the girls in soapy water and washing their hair with dishwashing liquid at the same time but before I did that I combed the worst of the tangles out of their hair.  I don’t usually soak dolls but as their hair was literally standing on end I thought it wouldn’t hurt. I scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and luckily the vast majority of the marks on their faces came off. Instead of rinsing the hair straight away I sat them on the draining board until all of them had been done and I could drain the sink of the soapy water. Then everyone got a rinse and I combed the conditioner through their hair with a wide tooth comb.  I left that to sit in the hair while I did each of them.

Her face needed a good scrub.

There were a couple of issues at this stage. One of the Steffi Love’s is a pregnant one although baby seems to have been born already. Steffi has a panel in her tummy for baby and when I washed her I noticed that some pink stains were appearing on the towel I laid her on. Steffi had not been inked so that was a bit disturbing. One of the other dolls did have red marks on her so perhaps it came from that as they were washed in the same water. A more serious issue was that one of the more cheaply made dolls had a lot of hair plugs missing at the front of her head. When I combed out the dolls’ hair some of them shed a lot more hair than others but I don’t think that I pulled it out as I’m always careful not to tug at knots. Anyway, she has lost so much that I don’t think I can save her. I will either use her head, which is very soft, to practice a reroot or see if I can use her body with a different head.

Simba Steffi Love Pregnant doll.
This doll had lost too many hair plugs.

Most of the girls looked a lot better after this but I decided that as some of them still had very coarse looking hair I would also boil wash it. I did them two at a time in a soup bowl and left them in slightly longer than usual. After they all had a turn in the bowl I combed the hair with a fine tooth comb and sat them down to dry off.

Boil washing doll hair. Barbie and Steffi get dunked.

Here are the girls after their baths. In my next post, I’ll show you the finished dolls and also Ken who I haven’t started on yet.

Now with clean shiny hair.


  1. Looks like Steffie had an abortion. Now she can’t celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday! Barbie could if she admitted Kelly and Baby Krissy were really her kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good job! This does look like a doll spa, they just need a steam room. Re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle.


  3. What a great job you did on their hair.
    If these dolls are going to be sold for a v. small price in a Charity shop , I think you need a super simple dress pattern to use up fabric scraps and just keep them clothed. Maybe you have something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a box of hand me down Barbie clothes from my own dolls and sometimes extras that get donated with dolls. I also have some very simple knitting patterns. I can knit a skirt and top or a simple dress in an evening in front of the TV.


  4. Like day and night, Everyone looks great. Steffie Love probably left her belly/baby somewhere (mine kept dropping hers). . Maybe Midge is the new mother or a cousin clone. I always thought Kelly seemed like Barbie’s kid more than a sib. But then I thought Ricky looked too much like a Allan clone/son to be a brother. I love the mixed families of adopted and foster kids etc, as I have acquired several Kelly’s/friends I am passing them out to various doll groups., Any chance to pull the kids out is fun. Love the Fashion Avenue (Barbie and Kelly)fashion packs of 1999. Iam going to treat myself to opening/deboxing the one w/ a tea set.My Avon Barbie will get a Kelly w/ her hair cut in a bob for Mothers day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did have a Steffi Love baby a few moths ago but I let it go off with another Steffi. This one might have to go without although I think I have a toddler still to go back. I think that everyone thinks that Kelly and Krissy seem more like Barbie’s own kids. I am sure that’s probably how kids played with them anyway as Mattel gave Barbie all these siblings but seemingly no living parents. Are they all orphans?


  5. Your post about restoring these dolls was very amusing. You really need to have a good sense of humour when rescuing these dolls. The op shop is fortunate to have you to give these dolls a new lease on life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Even the kids w/ funny colored hair/clones will end up with mums or grans as I’m sorting clones..Dr. Kildare will find homes for everyone. Already bagged the Topsy girl w/ two generations of adult.And I’m sure I have Kid Kore gal who can work together.Just rescued AA body w/ hole in leg and two on chest, Used same paint I used on a Buck Rogers white face and now it’s just another doner body. These dolls have their own personality/story.

    Liked by 1 person

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