How To Do Kirsten's Braids

For reference, most of this applies to any Kirsten worldwide, but toward the end, we're going to learn how to do braids for an old Kirsten. My Kirsten is from 1995. Older Kirstens might wind up with longer hair tails when you braid them, so we'll deal with that when we get there.

1. If you need to, downy dunk Kirsten. That's not always a popular thing to say, but there are dolls that genuinely need a good hair wash and downy dunk. When I was a kid, I used my own plastic combs on Kirsten because I didn't know any better. (There was never any Internet to tell me different, mmkay?) When I hauled her out last year, she was dirty and hair that was dry as STRAW. Downy dunk brought her back for the win.

2. Strip Kirsten down to her skivvies. Don't worry, she likes it. (You might notice that my Kirsten is wearing an extra petticoat ... that's one I made for her when I was a kid.)

3. Unbraid her hair. I do this one side at a time. Kirsten has a butt load of hair -- people who don't own Kirsten just don't understand. However much hair you think she has, multiply it by three. Anyway, it's easier if you just work with it one half at a time. Besides, this way you won't have to wind up digging out the short hairs in the back in the end.

Wrap a towel around Kirsten for these next parts so she doesn't get too much stuff on her body.

4. Use braid spray. It's usually found in the ethnic hair care section of your local drug store, or wherever you buy hair stuff. Don't skip this step, it's really important! Braid spray is the best possible stuff you can put in your doll's hair. It makes my doll's hair feel nicer than when it was new.

You want to cover as much hair as possible, so I always hold Kirsten (or any other doll) at an angle to spread her hairs out. Most dolls, you only want to use one or two squirts ... yeah, on Kirsten? One or two squirts a side. Remember, Kirsten's got more hair than the average bear, and if her hair's old anyway, it'll suck up moisture like a sponge.

Finger comb the braid spray in. Notice we haven't even busted the brush out yet.

I always rub a teeny bit in her bangs, the crown of her head, and the short hairs on the back. She'll look like a goof, but she'll deal.

4. Perhaps this step is overkill, but I do it anyway. I always let the braid spray soak in for a while. 40 minutes to an hour is, once again, probably overkill, but if you let it set a while, hair goes from that "just got squirted with goo" feeling to slick and silky soft. (Notice all my dolls have to sit. I do hair once a month.)

5. Get the hair wet. WET. I'm not kidding. Kirsten needs to look like she just came out of the shower. Brush it out. (Use a brush with METAL bristles! You can get a perfectly fine dog brush that's nicer and cheaper than the AG brush.) Divide the hair into three sections. To make it easier, I always twist the outer section inwards to make them stick together better. Now, braid! Secure with a hair tie of somesort (preferably clear, since Kirsten's blonde.)

Now, if we're dealing with an old Kirsten, you probably couldn't braid her hair all the way down, and as such, you're looking at a huge long tail at the end. That won't do, not for the last few steps. That being said, we're gonna cheat.

This is how you jury rig Kirsten's braids. Don't look at me, no one ever notices. I mean, hell, you haven't noticed I do this, have you?

6. Put another hair tie on, lower down. This extends the braid some and gives you a shorter tail to work with. Try to catch as much hair as you can in the second hair tie.

Tie her ribbon on just above the second tie.

7. This is the part where you make the ever famous tunnel and shove her braid tail up in it, but honestly, I don't do it that way. I've noticed most people aren't capable of doing it that way anyway (they always wind up just tying the top of the braid up there any old way), and also, I feel like I'm destroying the hair when I start shoving it back into itself. Maybe I'm not, but who knows. Instead, we're gonna curl it in a loop, like so:

The tail will point forward.

I have no idea if this photo is helpful or not:

Anyway, tie Kirsten's ribbon once more as close to her head as you can get it. Do it tight. Now tie a bow.

You'll need to tuck the end of her hair behind the braid, and you'll need to play with the braid a bit to get it to look right, but you can do it. I have faith.

Oh, and don't forget the other side.

Now, get Kirsten dressed. Doesn't she look nice? This method makes rounder braids like the books, if you're interested in that sort of thing.