#‎AGDoCGotY
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Braid Spray and the Ingratitude of the AG Fandom

Tara and Abbi know damn straight how braid spray can make a girl look good.
As a woman with 25 AG gang members--and many other dolls and ponies and other things with silky hair that can go rogue--I tend to invest time into their hair care regiment. And one of the centerpieces of my hair care is a big old bottle of braid spray. Not that the AG community at large really appreciates that I introduced this into the fandom. So this post is part basic care, part backstory, and part bitchiness.

First, the backstory. Let's take you back in time to 2006.  I had just gotten Addy as a Giftmas gift that winter, and recently found Naomi on the eBay Orphanarium and rewigged her. The only AG board was AG Fans, a hyper-Christian super conservative board where I once got in trouble for linking to a story that mentioned the word tampons. But at the time it was the only game in town so I suffered quietly. (My story about me getting booted from there is another post.)

There were many tips on doll hair at the time. AG only suggests one of their doll brushes (or picks for the curly girls) and water. No plastic, no heat, no anything else. Which makes sense. However, doll hair can get dry, break badly, get mussed up by dirt and grime and slime, or otherwise become a hot mess. So people had done hit and miss options for hair care. One of the more widespread methods, the Downy Dunk, still has some merit. But the best bet is to prevent it getting so bad that you find yourself swishing a doll's hair in fabric softener. Again, water spray was the best thing going, but people were suggesting everything from baby oil rubbed on the hands and through the hair to adding fabric softener to the water bottle to car vinyl protecting spray. I shit you not. Think about that and cringe. I'll wait.

So me, not wanting my then two-doll gang to smell of car interior or laundry items, tried to figure out anything else to keep their hair looking awesome. Research led to me learning that the doll's wigs were made of kanekalon hair. Which is the same damn stuff that I often had braided into my own head for awesome braids, because I'm black and not having to do my hair directly for upwards of three months is a badass thing. Part of the maintenance of my braids was to use braid spray--a mix of various leave in conditioners, oils, and herbal shit in a spray bottle that kept my hair healthy under the braids.

Couldn't hurt to try, right? So I grabbed a bottle and pumped a couple shots into Addy's head and brushed it through. Hot damn. Her hair looked great. It got glossy, soft, and sweet. I tried the same thing on Naomi, and she looked beautiful. With much squealing, and still feeling kind to the AG community--I haven't much in the past years--I posted this data up to the AG fans, including that braid spray could be found in the ethnic section of hair stores. There was a lot of skepticism, but some people braved the journey and got the stuff--and they found out I was not full of shit. And people stopped putting baby oil in doll hair, and all was rainbows.

Back to now, where the rainbows have faded and I'm only on AG Over 18 and stay around my own circle of doll collectors, having been banned from both major boards for the crime of standing up for myself as a person. I'm still pissed about that. But the fandom still suggests braid spray to take care of dolls, from what I know...

...and with no mention that I'm the one who offered the suggestion to people. That's ingratitude for you.

But enough bitching. Let me show you what braid spray does with Tara and Abbi. See, they were restorations like Naomi--but where Naomi had massive haircuts requiring a full rewigging, Abbi and Tara were well enough that they could mostly keep their original styles. And in both cases it was a magnificent transformation.

Tara was sent to me by a buddy, who had found an AG doll for super cheap at a resale store and offered her to me for free, because she knew I loved my girls and would give her a good home. I was really excited for her to arrive, and she got here a little after PAX 2009.

Tara's First Day. She was looking rough.
She was looking hella rough, no lies. (Don't ask where the dress is. It's somewhere.) But I liked her hair wraps and her curly hair.

Apply the magic.
So I worked my magic spray. Spray and brush, spray and brush, break the brush, fix the brush, spray and brush some more. 
Look at that change.
This was only half way through the job, and she was looking much better.

And after. Pretty like a damn princess.
And this was right after. Curly, flowing, and soft. She's looked great ever since. 

Later down the road in Sept 2011, that same friend found and sent me who would become Abbi. She was pretty grubby--there was a stain on her chin. And her hair--which had been naturally curly--was now a tangled knot of drama on her head.

Abbi before.
So I had to do a little bit more treatment. A wash, a little bit of flat ironing (the curls weren't coming back, ever) and then all the braid spray her hair would take. And, well...

And right after.
Super duper fly. That, my dears, is what braid spray can do. I continue to use braid spray every time I style or brush any doll's hair, rather than water. It keeps it soft, silky, smooth, and beautiful with regular use. Plus, your doll doesn't have to smell like baby care, a bundle of towels, or a Buick. But I get no credit, because the AG fandom has shunned me in a lot of ways.

Mellie knows this stuff is the good stuff!
So if you're ever on a AG message board, and someone suggests using braid spray for that awesome sheen and softness to your doll's hair? Just know it was me that introduced the concept, even if 90% of the AG community would never say so. Because they're jerkbutts.

--Neth

58 comments:

  1. Wow. Thank you for introducing it.
    I used Braid Spray damn near my entire childhood on my braids.

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  2. I posted a hello post on ag-playthings and i was automatically booted. there's my rant eh. But I used braid spray on my ebay orphans and its a dream <3

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    1. Booted? What did you do, accidentally look like me?

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    2. Considering im a 17 white girl, I don't think so. But we do act alike...

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    3. The only thing I can think of is that they got more paranoid that people were going to wreck the "feel" of the board. Childish shit.

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    4. I just wanted to be welcomed (and have people tell me im a good girl mm mmm) people to tell me that liking dolls is normal!!! But not people are asses.

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    5. Liking dolls is normal, and you seem like a good girl (if it helps to hear that from a total stranger! But I do try to tell the truth as I see it....)

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    6. LOL! I wasn't even considered for that board! I "applied" and it came back with a resounding "NO". I never knew why!

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  3. After about six months of collecting AG, my daughter and I finally found braid spray for sale and started using it on our dolls. Now we don't know how we ever managed without it.

    That was you that first told the boards about it? THANKS! from the bottoms of both our little dolly-lovin' hearts!


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  4. I don't have an AG but there are a ton of rescues sitting in my art bin that probably won't be hurt by this (ever met a tangle so bad that the Downy Dunk doesn't work? Yeah...). I trailed this link from the Toybox Philosopher and I'm so glad I did--your rant/advice was a hoot to read. :)

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    1. Oh, Braid spray is good for any synthetic hair, on the real! I've used it on my ponies. (As for tangles that even Downy Dunk can't handle, I've gotten dolls with bad knots and tangles--take a look at Tara up there!)

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  5. I've been using Paul Mitchell Wig Spray, but from what I can tell, Braid Spray is far better! I have a vintage Ponytail Barbie that a friend sent me. her hair needs some help like WHOA, so I'm gonna look for some braid spray & expect a 'miracle'. <3

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  6. Just read your stories & love your grown-up tell-it-like-it is style! and attitude! I'm even going to get dressed now & go buy some braid spray for my new girls! Thanks for the tip!

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  7. update... well, my bubble burst already. I went 2 places for "braid spray" and neither had it and the hair supply place never heard or it. any suggestions? I'll look online now & see if I have any better luck there.

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    1. Try the "ethnic aisle" at any hair care or grocery store.

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  8. On rooted doll hair I use cheap spray glosser. My favorite right now is the alcohol free Sally's version of Matrix Biolage. As long as the first three ingredients are silicone, you're golden. I have fixed all of her other doll's hair this way.

    AG hair seems to be different than rooted doll hair. I have thank you for this braid spray post. I'm not on any of the AG boards and my daughter just got her first doll. The hair was curly and is now ratty. I was considering breaking down and ordering twin pines of Maine. But, I have braid spray in the cabinet!

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  9. Nethilia, I have looked all over town for the Africa's Best braid sheen spray but I've had no luck. Is there another comprorable brand I could use? If not I'll just order the spray online. :) Thanks

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    1. Pretty much any braid spray will do. Look in the "ethnic" aisle.

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  10. Hi Nethilia, loved reading your blog. I restore AG dolls as a small (teeny tiny) business from home. I had heard of braid spray but along with downy and son of a gun but shunned everything but water and vinegar. Scared of the chemicals or children having an allergy to their favorite toy. I did wonder though with the braid spray does it leave any residue? My whole thing is restoring curls so I find residue weighs them down. I would love to find something though to better restore sheen. https://www.facebook.com/villagespafordolls?ref=hl

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    1. It's mostly water and minerals, and while it leaves a light softening agent it doesn't leave residue. I use it to restore curls.

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  11. Does anyone have experience using braid spray on a Madame Alexander doll? My daughter got a dolly and me for Christmas and I want to keep it untangled.

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    1. Should work. I've used it on many dolls.

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  12. Do you ever use braid spray in tandom with steaming? I mostly have straight haired girls so the straightening has been doing the job to remove some frizzles (although NOTHING is saving my BFC doll hair) but I've been thinking of getting a curly haired girl and I'm looking into how to care for her.

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    1. I almost never use steaming because it will straighten hair out. The most I ever had to was with Abbi, who needed a quick flat iron press. I own a lot of dolls with textured, wavy, or curly hair, so I just spray and brush a lot.

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  13. You're a brilliant fucking renegade, thanks for introducing this. I tried using milsoft [an industrial fabric softener I use for my work] mixed with water at the dilution ration recommended for using with downy. No. No, no no no, nononononono! Did not work! My Samantha's hair wasn't in super rough shape, I was able to brush it out, but she'd get minor tangles anyway. I haven't seen her hair like this since I was a little girl playing with her, now as an adult with an appreciation for her again I am so happy that I can take care of her hair without taking her to the hospital. Thanks!

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  14. I accidentally purchased a glycerin based braid spray [Royal African] and now my doll's hair is sticky. I am hoping you'll have some advice for me, because I don't want to jump straight to trying to wash her hair.
    Thanks :)

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    1. If you spray too much, it can get sticky. I rarely use more than 2-3 sprays before a brush. Just brush gently with a more water-based spray.

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  15. Woohoo! Great blog! And I am totally gonna try this on my Kanani doll's hair! It's not too bad (no knots or anything), it's just not shiny. So, this is worth a try! Thanks so much! :D
    ~Marisa www.marisasamericangirls.blogspot.com

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  16. Hi Nethilia!
    Okay, so I know this post is over a year old, but I have a couple of questions about using braid spray, and figured I should try asking them here so I didn't have to leave a really off-topic comment on a newer post. :)

    Okay, questions:
    1) If I've used a Downy spritz on a doll's hair previously, is it okay to then try braid spray? I just want to be sure I don't end up with some weird mess via a chemical reaction or something... ;)

    2) I saw on the AG wiki and in a previous comment that using too much braid spray can make the hair sticky or oily. Now, is that sticky/oily as in "Oh crap, now I need to wash my doll's hair 'cause it's going to stay that way," or is it sticky/oily as in "Oops, her hair feels a little funky now, but it'll soak in in a couple of hours/days and feel just fine"? (Hope that made sense...)

    3) Does braid spray work on synthetic mohair, nylon, or saran hair? I really like the Monique Gold synthetic mohair wigs for my Ellowynes, but they can get a little dry. The only problem is that the mohair is really fine/light weight, and I'm afraid the braid spray might weigh it down too much or something. I'm also curious about the nylon and saran.

    The braid spray I have is the Africa's Best kind, in case that's important.

    Thank you so much for your help! My Samantha doll is 14 years old, and her hair is really dry. I've tried Downy-spritz-ing it, but it didn't really do much.

    Thank you again!

    --Kate :)

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  17. I have a 2013 Disney store Pocahontas (who is not wearing that hideousity of a buckskin dress, and will be a modern member of the Powhatan tribe) with hair problems, and I'd like some advice. Her hair is frizzy at the ends, even though I've used a good hairbrush and braid spray. It's impossible to style. I'd like to trim her hair, but I'm worried about the ends getting frizzy again, and I'm not sure if a boil wash will help.

    Thank you for your advice, in advance.

    -Kayleigh

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  18. I just ran across this post-thank you!!!! I will have to pick some up next time I'm out and about.

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  20. Neth, I am truly sorry that you were treated the way you were. No one deserves that, no one, especially not someone trying to help. I just won a silent auction at a thrift store and won an original Kirsten who was filthy and had been given a very short bob haircut. She may need re-wigging. I also won an original Samantha with the off white rather than beige body. I have been told this was one of the very first dolls from Pleasant Company. Her hair had been put into French braids which were nice but were so tight, they were pulling the wig off her hair. I took them out and now have a mess. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your recommendations for Braid Spray. I will be looking for it tomorrow. There is a lovely all-doll group on FB called Doll Bazaar. So long as the talk remains dolls, there is no problem and if we stray, there is a gentle reminder. Lovely bunch of ladies who are very helpful, and I feel sure you would be most welcome there. So nice to "meet" you.

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  21. Just found your blog. You are freaking awesome! Thanks for the tip- I just ordered a bottle of the braid spray.

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  22. So you're the genius behind the braid spray. Who knows how many dolls owe their wigs to you. I wondered how this suggestion came up in the AG community, and now I have the back story. I purchased braid spray for the first time in my life in 2010 at the suggestion of a forum and restored my sister and my 15 year old dolls (Felicity and Samantha). Their hair was really in very nice shape. I'm getting ready to do a wash and condition of my doll and an Ebay Lissie too, and realized my bottle of braid spray didn't make it. Trying to google to see if there's a preferred brand these days or if any thing will do. Happy to say thank you for what I think is a must for preserving dolly hair. A spray with this stuff and a brush just once a year for stored dolls makes all the difference. Dust and dirt particles will break down the fibers over time, which leads to the frizzy ends and general ickyness of the hair after years in a box. Braid spray protects the hair strands. Lissie's hair had aged a bit in 15 years, but since I discovered braid spray it improved and then has not changed in five years. Can't say enough good things about this tip, I wish AG would sell a branded version of this product, just so girls taking home dolls today could keep the hair maintained for many years.

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  23. I've been using the said braid sheen spray way before I've ever read your blog. i'll pretty much tell you straight, it does pretty much like you said that it does.

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  24. I got my first bottle of Braid Spray and Julie's formerly frizzy hair now looks flawless.
    (Maybe she was born with it. Maybe it's braid spray.)

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  25. I'm trying to get up the courage to do this on my PM Addy. Her hair is frizzy and dry and has lots of broken strands. Any tips? I'm scared of hurting her hair more. I had only heard of downy dunks, but it's not doing enough. Also, how often do you apply it? I'm scared of even brushing her hair. HELP!

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    1. To restore hair like I did with Tara up there--whose hair was pretty dry and tangled--I sprayed and brushed it through and then sprayed some more until the hair was nice again. I never used a single downy dunk on her head. After that, I use it any time I style any doll's hair.

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    2. Thanks for the tips! Wish me luck ;)

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  26. I have known if you can't find the braid sheen spray, then you do try to find a leave-in conditioner that has the exact same ingredients in it as the braid sheen.Notice that some leave-in conditioners have the very exact same things as braid sheen word for word, if you bother to read the ingredients lists of both.With some but not all, if you can't get braid sheen, then you get if you can find it the hair product,or at least the leave-in conditioner that has the exact same stuff that braid sheen has,too.

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  27. Thanks so much for this tutorial, it totally gives me hope. I just bought my first TLC doll, a Kaya who has beautiful hair but will need some love before I can present her. I *think* I even have some braid spray I got when I bought my favorite wig last year.

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  28. This is new to me. Can I say I'm thrilled to have found - quite accidentally - you and your blog. There is no such thing as braid spray on Pinterest and downy has done jack shit for my daughter's GOT from 1996 (fwiw she was 4 and took very good care of her as she is her momma's daughter and nary a Barbie received a haircut from either of us). Here's hoping the braid spray does the job.

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  29. What kind of brush did you use?

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  30. Enjoyed reading your post! I have just bought an Addy on ebay and her hair doesn't look as if it will be very good. I had avoided buying her before because of her hair. Now to try and find some braid spray in southern Italy! Lol!
    I had thought of buying wig shampoo and conditioner but even those are hard to find! Thanks for a great idea.

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    1. My comment showed twice for some reason. Hope this one doesn't!

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  32. I have a Caroline doll and I'm wanting to fix all of her excess flyaways. Would the braid spray help with that?

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  33. So you are the person who revealed this miracle? I thank you. I bought an eBay Kanani with rat hair that took me four days to try and untangle. Dry as crap. Got some African Pride braid spray and OMG - gorgeous hair. Like she just came back from the doll hospital with a new head. A few curlers and a brand new doll. You saved me like $50 plus shipping. I thank you kindly.

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  34. https://www.volks.co.jp/page_ex.jsp?CONTROLID=SC0040&BUSINESSID=InitDisp&jancd=4518992341712&version=en

    This is a really nice wig spray from Volks. They used to have a great hair brush for wigs too, now there is just a toothbrush listed as a hair brush (?!?!). The one I have is more like little rounded numbins that are wide apart. It's the no breakage super brush!

    Thank you for the tip about the braid spray. I was going to go to Sally's looking for wig spray but I think the braid spray will be much easier to find. Definitely going to buy some for my niece, for her dolls.

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  35. Thanks Neth!:-) My bottle of braid spray just came today and it's made my dolls' hair perfect and soft!

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  36. Hello! For use clueless white people who don't know how to use braid spray, what is the step by step process? Do you have to wet the hair first? Do you rinse the braid spray out after you apply it? I have a 20 year old Samantha doll who is in great condition except for her hair, which has become dry and wiry. Thank you so much for your help!

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    1. It's leave in conditioner that doesn't need wet hair. Spray it in lightly and use it as one would water when styling doll hair. No need to rinse out.

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  37. Thank you so much! I have ordered the exact braid spray that you have pictured in this blog, and hope to be able to fix Samantha's hair this weekend!

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  38. Well, I'm new to the AG world and have seen "braid spray" mentioned, but I just googled it to find out what kind is good (bc I'm a white girl who has to wash her greaseball hair every stinkin day so I had no clue). So anyway, you get all the credit if anyone asks me!

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  39. I loved your article and sorry you got the boot. Can't wait to try this on the Kanani my girl just got - going shopping at lunch - wish me luck!!!

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Trolling, pointless bigotry, and hating for the sake of hating will be removed, as will any post screaming "first" because no one cares. Cursing is fine, as I curse myself. I still expect you to act like you have home training. This is not a Free Speech Zone. I reserve the right to delete comments or tell you to piss off. You post, you stand by your words, and all the consequences of those words, even if that consequence is getting your ass handed back to you. Don't come in my space, spit on my floor, and expect me to call it a swimming pool. I can and will cuss your entire ass out. If I told you not to comment, and you comment, your comments will be deleted.

If you are under 13 your comments will be removed; you're too young to be on the internet unsupervised and you know it.