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What is Barbie Hair Made Of?

What is Barbie Hair Made Of?

Barbie dolls have been a beloved toy for generations, captivating children and collectors alike with their stylish outfits and luxurious hair. But have you ever wondered what Barbie's hair is made of?
In this article, we will explore the materials used in Barbie's hair, their benefits, and why these choices are significant.

The Evolution of Barbie Hair

The Evolution of Barbie Hair

Since her debut in 1959, Barbie's hair has undergone several transformations. Early Barbie dolls featured wigs made of various materials, but as technology and manufacturing processes advanced, so did the quality and type of hair used in Barbie dolls.

What are Barbie Dolls Hair Made Of?

What are Barbie Dolls Hair Made Of?

Barbie's hair is primarily made from synthetic fibers. The most common materials used are saran, nylon, polypropylene and kanekalon. Each of these materials has distinct properties that make them suitable for doll hair.

Saran: The Classic Choice

Characteristics of Saran Hair

Saran hair is known for its natural matte sheen, thin strands and waxy feel. Saran hair creates beautiful natural looking styles, which is why it is often used for collector Barbie dolls with vibrant hair colors.

Benefits of Saran Hair

Durability: Saran hair is highly durable, maintaining its appearance even after extensive handling.

Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care to stay looking its best, which is perfect for collectors.

Realistic Look: The natural shine of saran hair closely mimics human hair, adding to Barbie's lifelike appearance.

Nylon: Versatile and Vibrant

Characteristics of Nylon Hair

Nylon hair is another popular material used for rerooting Barbie doll heads. It is known for its versatility and ability to hold intricate styles. Nylon hair can be straightened, curled, and styled in various ways, making it a favorite among collectors and those who enjoy customizing their dolls.

Benefits of Nylon Hair

Styling Flexibility: Nylon hair can withstand heat up to 190 degrees fahrenheit, allowing for a wide range of styling options.

Bright Colors: It holds dye exceptionally well, which is why many brightly colored Barbie dolls feature nylon hair.

Softness: Nylon hair is soft to the touch, enhancing the overall tactile experience.

Kanekalon and Polypropylene: The Budget Options

Characteristics of Kanekalon and Polypropylene Hair

Kanekalon & Polypropylene hair is often considered the toy companies budget option for doll hair since it’s cheaper to produce. Most collectors remove Kanekalon & Polypropylene and reroot the doll’s head with Nylon or Saran. Kanekalon feels dry and coarse but has a natural matte sheen. It’s important to note that it has been reported by the EPA that when heated, toxic fumes are released. Polypropylene feels plastic-like and is usually shiny and can be a little stiff.

Comparing Doll Hair Materials

Understanding the differences between saran, nylon, polypropylene and kanekalon hair can help you appreciate the craftsmanship behind each Barbie doll. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Saran: Durable, low maintenance, natural shine.
  • Nylon: Versatile, holds vibrant colors, soft.
  • Polypropylene: Plasticy, shiny, stiff, easily tangles.
  • Kanekalon: Natural look, coarse feel, when heated, toxic fumes are released.

Why Material Choice Matters

The choice of hair material affects not only the doll’s appearance but also its playability and longevity. High-quality hair materials ensure that Barbie dolls can withstand the rigors of play while maintaining their beauty over time.

How to Care for Barbie Hair

Regardless of the material, taking proper care of Barbie’s hair can extend its lifespan. Here are some tips:
  • Avoiding Heat: While some materials can handle heat, it’s best to avoid excessive heat to prevent damage.
  • Gentle Washing: If needed, wash the hair with liquid dish soap, liquid fabric softener, rinse with clear water and let it air dry.

Barbie’s hair is made from synthetic fibers such as saran, nylon, polypropylene and kanekalon, each chosen for its unique properties and benefits or for its cheaper toyline budget. Whether you’re a collector or buying a doll for a child, understanding these materials can enhance your appreciation of Barbie’s timeless beauty. For a wide range of rerooting and doll hair supplies to customize Barbie dolls, visit Doll Planet to explore our doll hair options for customizing your dolls.

Also Read: How to Detangle Doll Hair


Q: Is Barbie hair nylon?

A: Nyon is usually only found on rerooted Barbies. Most vintage Barbie dolls had Saran, then in the 80s-90’s they began producing them mostly with polypropylene. Since 2023, some Barbie dolls feature nylon hair. It is rumored that in the upcoming years Barbie will be using more nylon in their production.

Q: What material is Barbie made of?

A: Barbie dolls are made from a variety of materials, including vinyl for the body and synthetic fibers like saran, nylon, and polypropylene for the hair.

Q: What is most doll hair made of?

A: Most doll hair is made from synthetic fibers such as saran, nylon, polypropylene and kanekalon.

Q: How to tell if doll hair is polypropylene?

A: Polypropylene hair tends to be stiffer and less shiny compared to saran or nylon. It also doesn't hold styles as well and can feel more plastic-like.