Ink stains, stains from shoes
Use cotton buds/qtips and alcohol (perfume, aftershave, rubbing alcohol) to remove these
Nail varnish stains, factory paint errors
Use cotton buds/qtips and nail varnish remover but BE VERY CAREFUL! Acetone can remove your dolls face paint!
Deep skin stains (from clothes, permanent ink or contact with other dolls)
Apply acne cream (the type with peroxyde in it) to the stain and leave it in the sun for a week. Repeat this until the stain has faded away.
If it’s just black or white stains, use alcohol then acetone if that isn’t strong enough.
If the doll has actually got melted skin, you can try sanding it with a cardboard nail file but there is not much you can do except find a new body.
If the paint on your doll’s lips has been damaged you can use nail varnish or acrylic paint to repaint it.
The thing is, this is permanent! Removing the nail varnish or paint can also remove your doll’s lips so find a very small paint brush and do this very gently and patiently, you can use a toothpick for tiny areas.
Wait for the new lips to dry (don’t touch them while they are tacky! resist the temptation!) then use something pointy to gently scratch off any excess around the lips (I use pointy edged tweezer tips).
A good hair wash with conditioner then gentle brushing from the tips working up to the roots (this takes time) usually does the trick.
Remember that hair frizz in dolls comes from stretching the hair so try and untangle knots instead of pulling on them.
Use tweezers to remove any fluff or rotted elastics from the hair.
Heat can fix this, put your doll’s neck on the sink edge with the hair falling down then pour freshly boiled water down over the hair.
If your doll is fairly recent and has saran hair (barbies and bratz from this decade) then you probably can use your hair straightener on her but monitor it very closely: you don’t want to melt the hair!
Hair sticking up/out
If there are stray/too short hairs you can snap them off by pulling them with your fingers.
If your doll’s hair needs setting into a style then hold it/pin it into place then use a hair dryer to set it (careful to not melt your dolls hair with a too hot setting – this shouldn’t be an issue with modern bratz/barbie dolls with saran hair)
Ugly fringe/bangs to be removed
Pass a craft knife lightly over the roots of the hair to be removed, at the very base of the skull. Do this gently and bit by bit so you don’t end up with spiky bits of hair or chop off anything important. Using small nail scissors works too.
Head plastic tie aka the “umbilical cord”
Part the hair: use a toothpick or a pencil to move hair away from the plastic bit you’re going to cut then use a craft knife or nail scissors/clippers to chop it off at the base.
Depending on the glue: alcohol, soaking on hot water, white spirit (paint thinner) will remove the glue
Only acetone can break down super glue but it also removes paint and burns the doll’s body so be very careful.
If it can be glued back on then use superglue for plastics (special glue that won’t melt plastics). Same if it’s split: glue it together and bind it up for 48h until the glue is fully dry.
If it can’t be glued then go shopping for a damaged/cheap doll of the same type and skin colour and use their body (see “inside a bratz head” for more info).
You can also use bodies from other dolls (barbie bodies can fit with a little heat from a hairdryer).