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Natural Hair Dolls – Just Like You?

Once upon a time, when I was a littler girl, I dreamed of looking like a doll. Better yet, I wished that my dolls looked like me, so I could enter the land of make believe and live vicariously through them. However, given the doll options during that time, chances were sliiiimm.

Nowadays, young ladies (and some of us girls who remain Toys “R” Us kids,) can actually have their dreams brought to reality! There are a couple of fashion dolls out there that are done up with natural hair! These dollies have real-like curls and waves and look just like us! … or better yet, what some of us “Barbie girls” hope we’ll look like when we grow up 😉

In case you’re seeking a great present for some lucky, young girl (yourself included!), here’s the breakdown on a few, hot natural hair dolls on the market:

Barbie Girl With Curls

In 2011, fashion designer Byron Lars created a line of edgy and stylish dolls for Barbie Collector. These dolls killed it with their clothes (Lars doesn’t get enough fashion cred), and particularly, with their hair. From TWAs to afro puffs, these dolls must be seen to be believed. Many are sold out, but I want them all! I still get giddy when walking down the Barbie aisle in toy stores. If these dolls were on the shelf, it would be dangerous!

Most, if not all the Barbies in this line, are sold out. Sigh. However, you can still check them out online. I posted the image above of Byron Lars’ Sugar Barbie® doll. Yep, stunning. It’s just one out of many natural-haired catwalk queens in the collection. Check out the other dolls.

Custom Curls

If you’re seeking a wider variety of Barbie-esk, natural-haired dolls, then Karen Byrd has got you covered with Natural Girls United! Byrd has cleverly created a line of custom ethnic dolls with locks, twists, and huge ‘fros. You’ll be impressed by the variety of styles and colors in both hair and skin tone. These dolls are also quite stylish.

Of course, it came as no surprise that Byrd has a long wait list for her dolls. Tempted to jot down my own name! Oh, and in case you missed it, check out the Ken-like dolls with dreads. Really cool and cute! See all the options from Karen Byrd’s Natural Girls United!

Karen Byrd Natural Hair Dolls

DIY Method

Still haven’t found the doll of your dreams? Funds are a bit tight? No need to fear. There are DIY methods to give any doll naturally curly hair. Thank heavens for you crafty folks out there!

Kristl, the blogger behind How To Play With Barbies, has created step-by-step instructions on how to make what she calls a “rotini or halo hair.” It’s a genius method that allows you to really get experimental making over doll’s hair from straight to curly. The final result is seen below. Yes, that doll had straight hair the morning before–ha!

Discover how you can remix a doll’s hair at How To Play With Barbies or read the post Kristl wrote for Beads, Braid, & Beyond (super cute blog).

Custom Rotini from Playbarbies.wordpress

Getting Wiggy With It

Now, if you ODed your doll’s makeover, or you had a dolly hair cut go wrong, there’s hope for you. Just like in real life … your doll can sport a natural hair wig! Yes, you heard right. There are wigs for Barbies, courtesy of Tabloach at Etsy. Take a moment to let that process.

I think it’s both a clever yet funny idea. Why not? I have at least two old Barbies that were locked away because of some causality I caused to their hair. If only these wigs were available then. Check out the before and after image, and you be the judge. Smart!

Tabloach Custom Black Barbie Wigs from Etsy

Social commentaries and concerns about Barbies aside, these dolls are helping to diversify the dolls that are out there. What do you think about these natural-haired dolls? Giving you life?

Top It Off With Satin-Lined Hats

Satin Lined Hat for Natural Hair

My curly mane in a Threadmill satin-lined Brimster.

I may not have mentioned this, but I’m no longer the only curly girl in my family. A few years ago, my big sister, Kay, did the big chop after struggling with constantly shedding relaxed hair. Perhaps I’ll convince her to share her journey soon!

What you should know is that Kay is still in the process of learning about her hair. She also has a different texture from me, so items that work on my hair won’t necessarily work on her hair. Believe me, I understand those of you with different hair types from my own!

Anyhoo, my sis tasked me with finding hats for natural hair, particularly ones for the winter. I was equally intrigued, since it’s tough to find fashionable hats with materials that are ‘fro friendly. I’ve typically defaulted to stuffing my hair in a satin cap before placing a separate, decorative hat on my head.Why satin? As you may have read in my post on preserving your hair overnight, satin and silk materials help to keep hair moisturized and add the necessary slip needed to glide over strands, preventing split ends.

With my task in hand, off I went on a mad hunt for a solution. This came in the form of the highly recommended Etsy’s shop, Threadmill.

Threadmill Satin Lined Hat


Threadmill is the brainchild of  Dottie Mabry. On her shop profile, Mabry describes herself as an artist (10 cool points!) and art teacher (20 cool points!) “who loves her students, and her yarn fiercely.” She writes, “I view crochet as a sculptural medium … and delight in the endless possibilities of creating wearable art in yarn.”

Shelli of gave Dottie Mabry the idea to line her stylish brimsters and boho hats with satin to help preserve natural hair. I am ever grateful, as she gave a much loved Christmas present for my sis.


At Threadmill, you can find crocheted brimsters, beanies, hats for babies, scarves, ponchos, and more. I chose two variations of a rasta tam … like a true Jamaican gal 😉 For Kay, I got a slouchy crocheted brimless hat in soft green with a green, satin lining, as expertly recommended by Mabry. Of course, I snagged a little something for myself. I picked up a brimmed rasta tam in black with black lining. You can customize the look of both your hat and its lining’s color, so it is truly an original. Love!

MyCurlyMane in Satin Lined Hat


Both of my purchases were created in thick, wool yarn and felt very soft. I was also surprised that they had a little weight to them. They are definitely constructed with well-made materials. I made the mistake of placing my hat in a pile of clothes … and got a single thread pulled and loosened by a hanger. Take care with how you handle your hat!

The Look

My hat’s pattern was a little more holey than Kay’s, so the lining is more noticeable up close. I like this, as I think it adds to the look. However, if you’re seeking a traditional look, select a hat with a closer woven design.

Tip: Select a loser crotched design and a contrasting colored satin lining for a creative spin.


Hats range in price, with many costing approximately $30 without lining. The satin lining costs an additional $19. For my thrifty gals, you can follow my previous technique of donning your own satin-lined caps under your hats, but for ease and style, check out Threadmill’s collection.

Threadmill Satin Lined Hats


Etsy’s service was fast. I received both hats earlier than anticipated, and this was just before the holidays. Threadmill’s service also was very impressive. Both hats arrived carefully wrapped in plastic. Dottie Mabry was very accessible and oh, so kindly answered all my questions and offered suggestions for the designs. I appreciate it! Thank you!

If you decide to pick up a Threadmill hat, please let me know below. Share how you’re topping off your look this winter!

UPDATED 1-8-13: Ding! Ding! Ding! Dottie Mabry has very generously offered My Curly Mane readers a 15% discount on her hats for the month of February. Don’t worry. I won’t make it difficult for you. No jumping through hoops. To obtain this great deal, all you have to do is subscribe to this blog and leave a comment below. That’s it! Oh, and if you do purchase some threads, please share your comments or pics below.

Vogue Captures Curls In Its Covers

Solange in Vogue's Nov 2012 issue

Singer Solange Knowles is photographed and included in the November issue of Vogue.

After the hustle and bustle of a crazy work week, I like to kicked back and crack open the latest issue of any fashion magazine. I just need my fashion fix! This time, it was the November issue of Vogue. Did you see it? Do you know where I’m going with this? Well, in case you missed it, I’ve gotcha covered. 😉

There was a reoccurring theme that I noticed in the fashion bible’s pages—curls! Okay, that was an easy one. 😉 True to New York’s Fall Fashion Week, curls popped up in a couple of places beneath Vogue’s covers. Here’s the low down:

There was a spread in which a fair skinned model worked throwback, circa 1950’s dresses and frizzed out hair. It is the same look as if you’re on day 4 of your natural hair, and your curls are in their frizzed out, froey state. The model looked sophisticated and feminine. Her hair worked with the easy, breezy tone of the spread.

Similarly, there was a lengthy profile of former model and legendary fashion editor Grace Coddington. The feature included a professional photograph of Coddington aka “The Cod” with what appears to be her naturally curly hair in a frizzy state (seen below with a flower in hair). While the focus of the article was Coddington’s mark on the fashion industry (she is the person who inspired supermodel Twiggy’s decorative eyelashes), her frizzy haired pic left a mark on me. Her photo once again demonstrated the effortlessly chic way in which natural hair can bring out a woman’s beauty.

Finally, for my highly textured ladies, there was a photo of singer Solange Knowles wearing an ahhh-mazing yellow dress and her hair in a natural state. I know. I know. Solange is known to wear wigs (I’m almost certain this one was among her collection), and there wasn’t a diversity of models with a range of curls shown in the mag.

Here’s the thing. At the very, very least, some sort of texture is being spotlighted and shown to accent high fashion and ready to wear looks. Why is this important? The more that textured hair–particularly afro textured hair–is re-introduced and accepted in the media, fashion, etc., hopefully the less stigma that will get associated with it. Perhaps we can move away from seeing natural hair as risky or solely statement making and more as it being our curly manes in its natural state.

What do you think about fall’s ’fros and fashions?

FYI-For my fashion and photo lovers or just those who love flipping through the pages of Vogue and dreaming, check out the documentary In Vogue: The Editor’s Eyes, which chronicles the magazine’s 120 years.

Curls in Vogue - Nov 2012

Photos of models in the November 2012 issue of Vogue magazine.


CurlSpotting: New York Fashion Week 2012

I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.”
~ Alexander McQueen

Photo credit:


Strut. Strut. Pop. Twirl. Werk it like a supermodel, girl! New York Fashion Week 2012 has come to a close, with style forecasters predicting that ladies will don color, sparkle, and prints for the fall season. Yet, there’s another overlooked trend that caught my attention. I’m sure you’ve probably guessed it. Yes, my friend. We have curls!

Our catwalk curls are courtesy of skilled designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, the team behind Badgley Mischka. According to the designers, their show was inspired by the 1920s German Impressionist film, Metropolis. I’ve never seen this movie, but I noted the throwback details (fur collars) blended with modern accents (cut out details of each dress). Naturally, I applaud them for using purple and blue tones (Glad they got the memo! 😉 ) along with the gilded and rose-colored fabrics. The slightly Gothic makeup—I adore.

Photo credit:

Now, I know you’re questioning where curls factor into this piece. Well, they were everywhere! Each model took the stage with short, textured hair that perfectly framed their faces. The ’dos were light, fluffy, and airy looking, hinting at a romantic feel. It reminded me of previous shows by Brit designer Vivienne Westwood (love her work), who’s no stranger to highlighting curly hair or taking any risks for that matter. For Badgley Mischka, textured tresses amplified their regal, feminine looks.

If your hair already looks like this, you’re in luck … and fashionably on point! If not, you can mirror this look by volumizing your hair with an afro pik, or lightly separating your curls by hand. Frizz is your friend for this look, so feel free to play. If you have shorter locks, you have an advantage, as you can easily fluff your hair (through a pik or by hand) to frame your face. For tighter curls, try roller setting, braid-outs, or twists-outs to duplicate this texture. Don’t forget to add a side part.

While I am happy to see curls on the runway, I have to pose a few questions. Do you think that Badgley Mischka’s fall line should have included a diversity of models, sporting a variety of curls? Do you think the simple presence of textured hair on the catwalk is enough, since they were capturing a period, and we should count it as a win for all of our curly manes? Please share your thoughts and don’t forget this season’s trends. You better werk!

The Return of MTV’s House of Style

Cindy Crawford interviews model Linda Evangelista backstage at the Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo show in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Turn back the clocks to circa 1990. I’m wearing “my uniform” consisting of black jeans and a navy blue top. It was my uniform because I wore it nearly every day. Blame it on wearing school uniforms as a child or just plain comfort, but that was the extent of my external fashion.

While I wasn’t outwardly styled, internally I-loved-fashion. I couldn’t get enough of Vogue, Ebony, InStyle, etc. You name it, and I had to read it. I also had to watch it all: Videofashion, Fashion Television (loved it!), Style with the highly intelligent and posh Elsa Klensch, and the biggie–MTV’s House of Style. Yes, that of which was memorably hosted by Cindy Crawford.

Well, we’re in for good news. Word on the street is that House of Style is making a comeback this fall! I am really excited about this. I know that there have been previous attempts to revive the show, but now, with a new generation of young trendsetters, perhaps this one will work.

Israeli model and curlie Esti Mamo

But who will host it? We are past the era of the supermodel (I knew them all!). Wait. Moment of silence. Resume. Given this, I anticipate that the host will be either a Victoria’s Secret model or an actress/personality known for her fashion styling. I’m placing my bet on either Adriana Lima,  Gisele Bundchen, or Kendall Kardashian. More K love? Of course, you know that I would root for any curly girl. Hey, hair and fashion go hand in hand! I suggest Israeli model Esti Mamo or U.S. model Chanel Iman.

“There’s a lot of thinking that’s going into figuring this role out, when this announcement will be, and who the type of person is who we want to be the face of [the show],” says Sophia Rai, vice president of digital production at MTV.

We’ll just have to wait and see when the host is revealed at the MTV Movie Awards on September 6. Stay tuned! To get you warmed up, MTV is airing a documentary on the show which will air on August 7. Let’s check out the trailer and look back at a classic episode of MTV’s House of Style.

Below: The trailer for the MTV documentary on House of Style. I watched every episode!
Below: From the archives–an early episode of House of Style. Look at how young Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Veronia Webb, and Linda Evangelista were! Baby models. They’re all still gorgeous. Miss the supermodel era. Sigh.


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