Nope, that's not a lava pit inside
Barbie®'s head - it's glue

A few of months ago, I got a new basic Fairy Barbie® doll and noticed she had an unusually hard scalp. Guess what was inside her head?

Glue. That's right - at some point toward the end of last year, the proverbial "they" started putting glue inside the dolls' heads.

The only explanation I can think of is that it's supposed to keep the hair from coming out. You've probably had experience with a new doll "loosing" some hair the first time it was brushed; the final plug in a line of machine-rooted hair generally isn't "attached" to anything, so it can sometimes be pulled out. However, the average doll has a whopping two or three plugs like this total - and with today's densely-rooted hair, they're usually so tangled up with the other plugs that they won't budge.

Doll hair has been rooted this way for decades, and I can't recall ever hearing of an instance where it's lead to a safety issue. I've handled a lot of dolls (Barbie and otherwise) and I've never had a problem with it, even when I was a kid.

This is what came out of her head.

I didn't think the glue would cause any problems, though. After all - surely no one would make such a significant change to the way the dolls are constructed after 50 years without making sure the glue was completely stable, right?

I recently got a second doll to re-root. If anything, I thought the glue would make it easier to pull the hair out since it would all be clumped together - and, it did. Unfortunately, what I expected to be a solid, dried-out layer of glue turned out to be a layer of dried-out glue plus a whole lot of viscous, sticky sap-like liquid that had soaked into the hair. It got all over the crochet hooks I used. (I had to use lighter fluid to get it off.)

Still, I was optimistic. Surely no one would pump a doll's head full of liquid glue-sap if there was a chance it would seep out through the scalp, right?

Beach Party™ Nikki®'s box liner

This is a picture of the box liner of the Beach Party™ Nikki® doll I took out of the box yesterday. See that stain where her head was tag-barbed to it?

Yup - that's sticky liquid glue-sap that leaked out the back of her head.

Of course, the dolls are leaking mysterious substances from their legs anyway - they might as well do it from the other end, too, right?

It's not just the box, of course; it's also in her hair. (It feels like she's been shampooing with honey.)

It's only at the roots, but it's a new doll. Viscous, sticky liquids have a tendency to spread. Especially when kids are smearing them around with hair brushes.

Call me crazy, but I think that's a problem.

Update: I forgot to mention that not every glue-head doll I've taken out of the box has had a stain on the box liner. All of them have "sticky" spots on the backs of their heads, though.

Also, I opened another doll, and because of the color and texture of her hair you can actually see the fluid that's soaked into it. (It looks like un-dried hair gel. I tried to take a picture, but it didn't show up very well.) Luckily (I guess? ), it looks like it's only coming out through the holes where the head was tag barbed to the box - not through the hair plugs. (At least, not yet.)

Doll Diary 04 April 2009