Restoring Barbie

There are plenty of things you can do to restore a Barbie. The method you choose will depend on

a) The condition of your doll

b) What you want to achieve

c) The value of the doll and your skills

If you’re a first timer, I suggest if you have a doll that is from 1970’s or older, you teach yourself a few things with newer dolls before you get to the old one, that are a bit tricky in comparison to the new ones. (See about the year 1966 on Barbie.)

Dirty Barbie

If your Barbie is dirty, you can wash her in soap and water. For other stains on different parts of the doll, you can read some basic Barbie cleaning methods here.

Matted Barbie hair

If your dolls’ hair has gone tangled and matted, you can fix this by using a Barbie hair straightening method, described here. You may also want to recurl it, and the instructions can be found on the same page.

Cut hair

If your doll has had a matted hair crisis or ended up playing the role of Ken with her hair cut off, you can check out the Rerooting Barbie’s Hair instructions. It’s a slow process that takes patience, but isn’t very difficult. If you don’t want to spend that much time rerooting, you could always buy a Barbie wig or make one – I will be adding a wig tutorial later on.

Touch up the makeup

This is the hardest part of restoring Barbie. If her make-up is rubbed off or faded, you might want to touch it up with some special Barbie facial paints. You will have to be very confident in your abilities or alternatively not care if the doll ends up spoiled.

Redo the whole doll

You can always change everything about the doll, change the hair colour, style and do a repaint and then dress her in clothes you made yourself. In this case, we are talking about customising Barbie, and OOAK Barbies, One Of A Kind Barbies.

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6 Comments on "Restoring Barbie"

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i have a new barbie fashionista sporty doll, and her leg has come out. how can i fix it without having to throw it away? please answer.


Should be able to string them together with a rubber chord from between the lower torso. It has to be tight though and might not be a good result, it tends to spring the legs apart a bit too much for my liking but a tight dress or pants would hold her in place…

barbiefashionista lover
barbiefashionista lover

Hey! i just wondered if you could do, or already have an article on how to keep a barbie “fresh” as possible. Because i JUST bought a barbie fashionista that i had been after for almost a year, and i’ve barely played with her but her eyebrows are already fading as well as a section in her eye make up. I am no where near equipped or talented enough to paint them back on, so i was wondering if you had any tips on how to ensure that it does not rub off too quickly, thanks


That is bad… That should not happen. I suggest you email Mattel with a little feedback. I’ve got Barbies from the 80’s that have been loved (and lived) to bits with their hair and make up still on! Unfortunately the current day Barbie does not live up to the quality standard they are still known for. 🙁


I finally had to get my Barbie’s out for my four year son (because he is extra awesome like that) this weekend, and I have a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of time cleaning them and sortingttheir hair in the near future. Thank you for this and the hair tutorial!


Hope you’ll have tons of fun with your son! :))