Is Your Rapunzel Doll … TANGLED? How to Detangle Doll Hair


How to Detangle Doll Hair…

Emma’s Rapunzel Doll was a tangled mess within hours of her taking her from the box. Despite the repeated (attempted) brushings Emma gave her, the rats nest got bigger and bigger. After a little searching, we finally found our answer and it was fairly easy too!

What you will need:

1) A wig brush… this one was only $3.00 on

wig brush

2) Liquid fabric softener… any type in your favorite scent.


3) An empty spray bottle.


4) Water



5) A tangled mess…


How to:

1) Start with a 50/50 mix of fabric softener and water in the spray bottle.

2) Drench the dolls hair with the mixture until it’s almost dripping.

3) Carefully run the brush through the hair to remove the tangles.


4) Rinse the doll’s hair until the fabric softener is removed.


5) Let the hair air dry, or blow dry on low if you are in a hurry.


Once we successfully fixed Rapunzel’s hair we decided to try this out on Ariel, as her hair was a rats nest as well. Here are our results!



After… wet


Finished product with both dolls…



This method works on other “hairy” toys as well. We tried it out on Emma’s My Little Ponies.





We noticed that this did not work very well on the “off brand” pony. The hair seems to be a different type. The “My Little Ponies” came out perfect. Kaytlin wound the tail around a straw and clipped it with two of Emma’s hair clips to get the curl to return. She let the hair dry naturally and the pony is in great shape again! It worked on the blue pony as well, I just neglected to get a photo.

I hope this method helps you out…. restore your little girls dolls instead of replacing them! I intend to snag some SUPER CHEAP baby dolls this summer at garage sales and “fix” their hair for Emma’s collection Winking smile.



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  1. Nikki M says:

    Thank you so much for posting. We have a “stable” of ponies that need to make their visit to our hair salon shortly and we will give this a try for sure.

  2. Laura Miller says:

    Thank you! We have Rapunzel too, and what a nightmare! :)

  3. Lisa says:

    Thank you for the tip. My daughter has tons of dolls that we need to do this too.

  4. Christine M says:

    This is so neat. I’m pinning it to remember in the future =)

  5. Thanks so much. I was going to google today to try to figure out how to fix my DD doll today as her hair is a rats nest. Off to try this now. I think when she wakes up she will be supprised. Thanks for giving us the info.

  6. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    Wow! Thank you for this info!

  7. Jessica Bradley says:

    Thanks for this! I have been at my wits end with tangled doll hair!! Definetly going to try this!!

  8. Carrie Phelps says:

    What a fantastic thing to now know! I’ve actually used a comb before & it’s a great big mess! Thanks!!

  9. Christina says:

    Awesome!! What a great tip.. thanks so much for sharing. And since we use a detangler on my daughters hair, I am sure she will love doing the same to her dolls and ponies!

  10. Jacqueline Griffin says:

    Your a pro at this! The dolls look beautiful! I bought my niece the Tangled doll for Christmas last year. I wonder what condition her hair is in. I will let her mom know how you made these little beauty’s hair pretty again. Thank You!!

  11. Arlene Whitfield says:

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!! What a lifesaver! DA BOMB!!! Thank you so much!

  12. That is amazing! Thank you!

  13. Maria Malaveci says:

    I have spent a couple days now trying to get all the knots and tangles out of our Rapunzels hair… and then I got your email in my inbox! I quickly put everything together and tada! Thank you so very much. I think I needed to use a little bit more softener on her hair, but definitely so… much better! I am so glad I found this out!

  14. darlene bohannon says:

    loved this,will tell my daughter,so she can fix my grandaughters dolls hair,thanks so much

  15. Laura says:

    Fabulous tip! We will try this. Bravo!

  16. tammy dodson says:

    thanks for the info

  17. My daughter got a Cabbage Patch Kid doll for Christmas and she has super curly hair. Any idea how to detangle curly baby doll hair (I read that it was different, but they did not say how to do it)?

    • Reenie says:

      I think I’ll try this on wigs!

  18. lauren says:

    Will this work on dress up wigs as well? My daughter got a rapunzel wig to go with one of her dress up outfits and it’s a knotted mess.

    • I haven’t tried it on wigs, but if it’s made of simlilar material to doll hair I would think so!

  19. Kim says:

    This is AWESOME! My daughter has the same princess dolls and we have been struggling with them.

    We are going to try it this weekend!

  20. Rosie Richter says:

    Wow! That is pretty cool!

  21. Melissa Flores says:

    Best post ever!!! Have been thinking for ever on how to fix her hair… After reading this I have ALL her big princess dolls in the basket ready for a makeover lol!

  22. Nora says:

    Thank you so much, I run a daycare and my doll’s hairs are a mess. They don’t look as perfect as yours but its 100x better. I was so impressed with the outcome that I spred the word with my fellow providers. Thank You!

  23. Amy says:

    You are my hero!! My 3-year-old’s Rapunzel doll’s hair ‘is a MESS, I can’t wait to pick up a new brush & give this a shot! Thanks so much! :)

    • Did it work for you? Just a warning, unfortunately it doesn’t prevent the mess from happening again :(

  24. Rory says:

    Thank you! Just this weekend my daughter got a Rapunzel doll as a present and then 25 hand me down My Little Ponies! Just like your daughters, Rapunzel was a Tangled mess within hours, which led me to anger… Then google… Then your advice… And happily ever after!

    • I’m so glad you got it fixed! It’s really too bad they tangle so badly. There are TONS of them at garage sales!

  25. I found this post via Pinterest, and I can’t thank you enough!! We have four or five dolls that are in SERIOUS need of this treatment. I was even considering taking them to a hairdresser to just get it all cut off. Thank you!!

  26. THanks for showing detailed how this worked for you. I pinned this a while back and haven’t tackled it yet. Does it have to be a wig brush or do you think a wide tooth comb would work? Just curious if you tried other tools first or went straight for the wig one. Thanks again!

    • I went straight for the wig brush. I would just recommend NOT pulling or tugging as it will pull her hair out. Good Luck!

  27. Erin Rueff says:

    I LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing and I will start on this project as soon as I get a wig brush. We have several dolls and ponies and barbies that are way past due for this process!

  28. caylee says:

    do you think this will make a dolls hair ungreasy someone put shampoo in my $100 babys hair!!!!

  29. Erin says:

    I tried it on my Precious Moments doll hair… it didn’t quite work. But it gave me less tangles so i can braid it into pig tails.. thanks for that. :-)

  30. Joanie says:

    So totally tried this on the Belle. So totally did NOT work. Maybe it was the brush I was using – it wasn’t a full-on wig comb. Got the mega rats out, now it’s on to making it pretty again – her hair is seriously SOOOO kinky and natty now. I wonder if it’ll ever go back to the smoothe shiny hair it was before.

  31. Ruth says:

    Thank you! You’ve been officially added to my mommy hero list! :)

  32. Emily says:

    You are a goddess. My 2 year old daughter has Rapunzel , Ariel, and Belle….with Merida set aside for Christmas. (I may be obsessed :/) But she adores them, takes them everywhere, etc so you can imagine their hair. Love love love it!

  33. Andrea S says:

    My daughter’s Rapunzel doll has hair like a smelly old hippy ~ one big matted dredlock!!! I’ll try this and hope it works. If it works I’ll do the army of dolls in her bedroom! You’ve done a great job on your daughter’s dolls. Fingers crossed I can get the same great results.

    • Andrea S says:

      I tried it today, and it didn’t work as well as I thought it would, but still better than it was!!

  34. Dorothy says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I bought an American Girl doll for $1 at Goodwill (it had incredibly frizzy and tangled hair – I’m sure that’s why someone else gave away such a beautiful doll) and figured I’d try this since I only would lose $1 if it didn’t work. Well, it took multiple applications. But, it worked! My grand-daughters were thrilled to get the beautiful doll (and I was thrilled that it only cost me $1 and fabric softener.) Thank you!!

  35. Claire says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!! I thought the Rapunzel wig we picked up in Disneyland was ruined – one distraught little girl!! I can’t wait to give this a shot.

  36. Angela says:

    Thanks for this Heather. We have been back from Eurodisney for a week and my daughter has managed to do exactly the same with her Rapunzel doll (which has strange sparkly streaks in its hair too). I will be giving this a whirl! If it works, Barbie will be next!

  37. Chelsea Muth says:

    Amazing!!! Thank you for the tips. My daughter will love to play hair dresser. We have a ratted Ariel costume wig, do you think this method will work on that as well?

  38. Claire says:

    Thank you for this post I have been avoiding the questions in our house ‘mummy can you brush rapunzel hair please’ we have two in our house with a 3 1/2 year old and 5 year old daughters, now I’ve found this I will give it ago and then head straight over to the my little ponies and give them ago.

  39. Christie H. says:

    My daughters both got My Little Pony’s from Build-A-Bear and the hair was pretty much a tangled mess by the time we got home. I wonder if your trick would work on that hair?

    • Erin says:

      You should let me know if this works. I was wondering for my girls mlp build a bear toys

  40. Danielle Papsis says:

    This is great. I love that you included photos. A much less scary option than the suggestions I’ve seen posted of dipping dolls hair in boiling water!

  41. I haven’t, sorry :( . The only curly “hair” I’ve done are the My Little Pony dolls at the bottom of the page. Maybe if you wrapped her hair around a bunch of straws while it dries the curl would come back?

  42. stephanie says:

    does this work on curly doll hair as well i have a merida wig from build a bear that needs this it has needed it since i removed it from its bag but don’t want the curls to be removed

    • It will work, but you will have to re-curl her hair a piece at a time like in the My Little Ponys in this post. Yes, our Merida wig was a hot mess, too LOL

  43. Fabi says:

    Thank you so much !!!

  44. Jene' Loyless says:

    Dot NOT use this on American Girl Doll hair. It says that it will eventually break down the hair. However, I will be using it for the many other dolls that could use a good “detangle”!

  45. Angel Wattison says:

    Thanks so much for this my daughter is over the moon as some awful kids at nursery ruined her Ariel dolls hair I’m keeping elsa and Ana at home for definate! X

  46. Carolyn says:

    Now how do you get the crowns to stay on their head?!

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Unfortunately I haven’t come up with a good method to re-secure their crowns. We squeeze and balance :)

  47. Kelly says:

    So I took your advice and did this to my daughters rapunzel doll. It’s much softer but really frizzy. Any suggestions to get rid of the frizz? I hope I didn’t damage it

  48. I know that my Daughters Our Generation 18″ dolls had hair that was nasty and a complete nest and I just finished the first one and it worked out well so thank you so much, It was gross getting all the hair out that was coming out with brushing but now it looks great and I even added some Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum to the hair which made it look Perfect, Because it was very frizzy at first. Thanks so much

    • I’m so glad it worked out for you! I was so amazed how easy it was and how well it worked!

  49. Erin says:

    Just wondering about the importance of the wig brush. Why that specific one? Did you try a different one and it didn’t work or made the hair worse? Thanks!

    • I just purchased an inexpensive wig brush. Using a regular brush on a doll can pull her hair out. A wig brush is gentler on it. HTH! :)

  50. brenna says:

    Any suggestions on how to keep their crowns on? I’m going to try this, we have jasmine and a rapunzel

    • Unfortunately we had to take our crowns off and they didn’t reattach. We think it was worth it though. :)

  51. Christa says:

    How did you rinse? Did you actually put the hair under running water or did you spray with another bottle of just water? Can you elaborate a bit more on the “rinse” portion.

    • I put her head under the running water and rinsed until it felt clear of the softener.

      • Kara says:

        That’s what we did to and it worked fine.

  52. alib says:

    Tried this on the costume wigs and it worked great TY saved me so much money!

  53. Lexa says:

    We tried this on a Barbie/Princess Aurora doll. Unfortunately, it didn’t change the horrid tangled frizz at the bottom of her hair, but the rest of the hair seemed much better. Someone mentioned trying it more than once. We will try that. And THANK YOU to whoever said not to use it on American Girl doll hair—Aurora Barbie was the test before we did it to Kanani!

  54. kate says:

    I tried doing this to my daughters 3 ft-Rupunzel doll. Perhaps the rats-nest was to far gone, but it did not seem to do much good. I just kept brushing and brushing and it is still a mess. I even tried different fabric softeners, greater concentrations of the softened, and even soaking it-and nothing. Any thoughts?

  55. Kara says:

    Thank you!! I read this yesterday so last night we set up a doll beauty salon. It worked great! The only one that didn’t do so great was a MLP Equestria girl. The knots came loose, but at the expense of a lot of hair coming out. :( The Ever After High dolls look amazing this morning!!
    Since others have mentioned issues, here’s what we did in case it matters: We used regular Snuggle softener. After I got the hair saturated, we started at the bottom and worked our way up to the roots. Some of the older dolls took a lot of patience, but the work paid off. Once done we laid them at the edge of the table with their hair hanging down to air dry over night. We brushed it again this morning and was amazed how well they looked!

  56. Kambrea says:

    We have a bunch of dolls that could use this. Thanks!

  57. Sherri says:

    I wish I had known this when my daughter was young…. we have some nappy looking dolls in storage!

  58. Elizabeth H. says:

    I had so many dolls that had tangled hair back in the 70s, this would have been very helpful back then!!

  59. suzy says:

    I was wondering if anyone has trued this method on synthetic hair pieces such as extensions? I have one that’s tangles easily and I’m going to see if it works if it does I will let you know. thanks for the idea I was ready to give up and store it.

  60. just wondering if the hair is superposed to have a strong fabric softener smell

  61. Linda says:

    Most of the comments here are from people who are excited about this potentially working for them, and mostly not from those who have tried this out. Many of the people who tried this are saying it didn’t work very well for them. Well add me to that list. I tried it on a large baby Elsa (Frozen) doll. a quarter of her hair came out while brushing it because it was so knotty. The top of her head is sort of okay, but the bottom half is all matted. I had high hopes, though nothing but frustration after two hours of brushing and a terrible result! :(

    • I’m sorry you had this experience. Were you using a wig brush? I found that if I start at the ends of the hair and work out the knots there I can move up from there when they are smoother. When working on the ends I try to hold the hair at the base of the scalp so when/if I need to pull I hopefully don’t pull much hair out.

  62. Joy says:

    It did not work for me. I worked hard at it for quite some time and finally gave up. It made it no easier to brush or comb, only worse. Did you use a special brush or comb?

    • Yes, I used a wig brush… not a regular hairbrush. HTH :)

  63. Laci says:

    I want to know ho you get those crowns to stay on?

  64. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    This is a wonderful tip to detangle doll’s hair. thanks for,the inormtion and steps.

  65. Leah says:

    Does this work on normal wigs too? I have a Wig ( MapofBeauty 32″ 80cm Long Hair Spiral Curly Cosplay Costume Wig ) and the tangles are a nightmare! This looks like it would work but I just wanted to ask if anyone had tried it before? Thanks!

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