Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alpaca Reroot Care & Styling Guide

I had a former Alpaca hair care guide available in my Flickr group, but with no pictures or anything, so I think it was still a little confusing to some people.  I've finally gotten around to creating a better one with photos!  For this demo I'm using Kirsten's dolly, a custom by Jess/Sookie with a reroot by me.  Her hair was in need of a good wash and style so I offered to give her a little hair spa time!
                       (you can click the images to view them larger)

Alpaca hair strands naturally have a sort of stringy look (though you can break that up with a boars or other bristle brush for a more fluffy look)
But if you don't regularly comb through your Alpaca reroot it will get a messy/dreaded sort of look to it.

 (This is how I wash and style an Alpaca reroot, I'm sure there are many other ways of doing it, but this is how I do it:)

Comb through your Alpaca reroot with a standard comb, using the part with wider teeth.  Comb it out as best you can, get out all the tangles.  I like to start at the middle of the strands and comb my way down to the ends, then get my comb into the top of the strands (closest to the scalp) and work my way all the way down.  If the hair is even the least bit tangled you probably wont be able to stick your comb in and pull it all the way down to the ends in one clean pull.  Don't try to do that if the comb gets stuck in the hair.  Instead use smaller strokes, comb and then remove when it's stuck, comb, remove, comb, remove.  This way you're not pulling too hard on the hair and any tangles will slowly come loose and you'll be able to pull the comb all the way down the strand of hair without being stopped.

Often times, especially if it's a thick reroot, you'll want to part the hair into smaller sections to make sure you get the underneath layers, especially since the areas closest to the scalp are the ones that will tangle or matte most quickly.

*You should do Step 1 about once every week or two, depending on how much play your girl gets.  You should regularly comb through your reroot in between playing so that it doesn't get too tangled.  If you do "regular maintenance" comb throughs then you wont have any real big tangles to deal with later on.

Use warm to hot water, but not scalding.  Don't rapidly increase or decrease the temperature, you don't want any felting to occur.
Put the faucet on low to medium stream, you don't want to put the pressure too high or else you'll have water splashing all over your girls face.  Gently wet her hair.  Make sure to avoid getting water too close to the scalp line, if water soluble glue was used to attach her reroot (which is what most people use, including me) then you could loosen the glue, causing her scalp to come up a little.
Alpaca doesn't absorb water super quickly, so you might need to lift the hair up a little to make sure the inside layers of hair get wet.

Once the hairs been wet, add a little more than a pea sized amount of gentle shampoo.  I use Method baby shampoo because that's what I use on my daughter, but regular gentle/mild shampoo is fine too (as long as it's not labeled ultra "cleansing" which normally means it's a bit harsher to make hair cleaner)  Gently rub the shampoo onto the hair, but don't scrub or rub the hair too harshly.  I like to rinse a tiny bit of water onto the hair once I have the shampoo on, and then run my fingers over it a little more to help the shampoo saturate all the hair strands.  Then rinse the shampoo out the same way you wet the hair, turn her around to get all parts of the hair, but avoid getting the scalp line wet.

Then condition with a medium to heavy conditioner.  I like to start at the ends and work my way up.  You don't want too much conditioner in the root/scalp area, that will just make her hair look flat and be more difficult for you to rinse out.  Rinse the conditioner out, you might have to gently rub your fingers down the hair to help remove all the conditioner.


To dry and style you'll need a towel, a comb, a hairdryer, and a boars bristle brush.  I recommend boars or another all natural bristle brush, but others can be used.  Here's a great, and short, article on why boars bristle brushes are so much better:

To get started you'll want to gently ring out any excess water with a clean towel.  Then you'll want to thoroughly comb out the hair.  This can be difficult sometimes if the hair is tangled or matted at all.  (regular combing makes this process much easier!)  Just comb the same way I described above, in small quick strokes, until it becomes more smooth.  You'll want to separate into smaller sections so you can get the hair closest to the scalp/root area.  If this part is stressing you out just be patient and go slow, if a girl has super tangled hair it can take me 20-30 minutes sometimes to get completely combed out.  And a little bit of shedding onto your comb is completely natural, don't be freaked out by it.  Once you've got it pretty much all combed out you can begin blow drying.

I like to start out on the medium setting on my blow dryer.  I hold my doll upside down and wave my dryer about a foot away from her hair, I move my dryer back and forth lots and don't hold it on one area for too long.  Turn your doll as you go.  Her hair will naturally fly around some so you can reach some of the under layers as well as the surface layer.
I blow dry for about 2 minutes then stop and do a quick comb through.  Then I repeat with 2 more minutes of drying and then stop and comb through again.  Turn her upright and comb her hair that way and blow dry that part of her scalp.  Once the hair is feeling damp and slightly dry I brush through with the boars bristle brush as well the comb.  You'll have to start focusing more on the "roots" area, closer to the scalp, this area is the slowest to dry, especially in the part line where there are more strands of hair.  Keep alternating between drying for a few minutes and stopping to comb and brush.  Once it's nice and dry do one final comb through with your comb and then brush with the boars bristle brush.

And Voile! silky smooth fluffy alpaca hair!


Julie Petty said...

How interesting! I am an alpaca breeder and have been selling suri alpaca locks to folks planning to reroot the hair on Blythe dolls. I had never heard of a Blythe doll before! Your tutorial is great and I am so glad to see how the process is actually done. I would guess it makes wonderful hair ... it is very soft and silky! I sell my fiber on Etsy at You might like to check it out!

Post a Comment