2015-07-30

Everybody loves Mattel's greasy glue

And when I say "loves", I mean "googles solutions for".

As I was looking at my blogstats the other day I noticed my post about Mattel's greasy hair problem topping the list of daily pageviews yet again. This has been happening a lot recently, so I thought I'd check the pageviews for all time. I found something pretty interesting:
Those are my top five most popular posts ever, with Mattel and their godawful glue as the undisputed winners.

They show up in the search strings as well: 

In the all time top keywords...

...and top keywords for the last month.

Congrats, Mattel! You win everlasting shame and dishonor.

Every time I see this post at the top of my weekly visitors count, I'm reminded that I don't actually have a good way of dealing with the head glue, and that I don't know what's in it or whether it's a health hazard or not. It's a source of worry that's taken a lot of the fun out of buying new Mattel dolls, and frankly I'm feeling less and less inclined to do so.

In the last year or so, almost all new Barbies I've bought have been body donors for older, glue-less heads (and sometimes I've still had to scrub glue off the neck disk). There are some great faces in the 2015 lineup, but from what I heard the glue is still in there (although I think I read somewhere that it's a new type that's slightly less likely to seep out?) and I'm not sure I want to buy the undercut flocking girl or "albino Artsy" with her big curly hair, only to dread the day the stickiness will inevitably appear and ruin the hair.

I'm not swearing off modern Mattel dolls forever, but... a hobby is supposed to be fun. Sticky glue head syndrome isn't.

22 comments:

  1. I feel the same way! Besides, I already have quite a lot of dolls and there is nothing in our stores now that a) I like and b) is significantly different from what I already have. I'm on the look for used MH though, the pyjamas Cleo I bought second-hand has the best hair ever! I lucked out last year with the dolls I really really wanted - Style Raquelle has no glue and the Zombie Shake MH pack has hard heads, but clean hair.

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    1. I just checked my stats and my glue hair post is only 7th in popularity after shoe tutorials, sewing tutorials and "rare" doll reviews. My keywords are mostly about making doll shoes. We seem to have different audiences.

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    2. My goodwill Skull Shores Ghoulia has a soft head and no glue too, and I recently found a Fashionista Nikki with not a hint of glue either. Both made in China. I'm pretty sure they both have kanekalon hair (thin and fluffy) so maybe that's got something to do with it too?

      As for the stats, I think the problem is you have more than one post that people actually want to read :D

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  2. I agree that the glue is a problem, but I think it depends on where the doll is made on how bad it is. I have been surprised that you can get 2 of the same dolls and one might have tons of glue that seeps out and make the hair impossibly greasy and the other's hair has a more controlled amount with no seepage and beautifully soft hair. I wish they would stop using the glue and go back to the knotted roots!

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    1. Agree, knotted hair would be best. Even if Chinese dolls seem to have less glue, it's no fun having to guess. Funny thing is, I've never encountered a cheap clone doll with glue head syndrome!

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    2. I have to agree! Cheap dolls don't seem to have glue in the head!

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    1. I think this comment ended up on the wrong blog :D

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  4. I haven't bought many new Barbies so I have not encountered the dreaded glue head problem. Mattel needs to investigate that problem and rectify it. That is a bigger problem than the Bratz or Lammily. If they show themselves to be indifferent to the health/respect of their customers, they WILL lose those customers..

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    1. Actually I wonder why more people don't seem bothered by it. Do kids not play with their dolls in the bath anymore? I know I did - hot water will definitely make the glue seep out if it hadn't already.

      Now I'm wondering whether Lammily has glue head too? I think Bratz heads have glue in them, but I'm not sure whether they tend to leak or not.

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  5. Oh, that dreadful glue... And nobody seems to have a permanent solution! It ruins half of my fun with MH. :(

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    1. Well, there was that Russian chemist who figured out that Toluene would work, but that seems like pretty drastic means. Especially for a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. :/

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  6. I guess gluing is faster than using a threading machine so they will stick to what is easy.

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    1. I can understand that - I just wish they'd use a glue that won't seep out.

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  7. I pinned this post to a new Pinterest board titled "NoMoreGlueHeads." Here's the link: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/189291990565553934/

    Wishing you many new hits ;-)

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  8. The glue heads have to stop! On a semi-related tangent, every time I see "albino Artsy" in the store I can't help but think she looks like an actress-Alex Kingston, best known for ER and Doctor Who.

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    1. Oh my god, you're right! Can't believe I didn't see it. She'd be great for a OOAK Alex Kingston!

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  9. Hi,

    I can't stand the glue. I think doll's reviewers should mention in their reviews if the doll has a hard head or not. It would save me the trouble of squeezing heads in the shops displaying signs of craziness and suspicious behaviour! I have also noticed most of the new Monster High dolls have horribly hard heads regardless of the country of manufacture. And even worse, the glue heads made in China dolls leak even faster and worse than before!
    Thank you so much Mattel!
    Luckily, I am not keen on the new re-boot dolls so I will buy none of them I think.
    This glue problem is a huge disappointment and I can't help feeling ripped off. I also think it will damage the vinyl long term. Monster High dolls were so creative and original. How can Mattel destroy their own products in such a way?
    I use talcum powder to temporarily fix the problem but it is definitely not normal to have to waste so much time treating the affected dolls.
    The best option I have found is to not buy the "glue heads" unless I really really like the doll, or the sale price is so appealing that I can't resist, or the doll is second hand and I like her and feel sorry for her!

    I suppose they must save tons of money using the glue method rather than a threading machine.
    What a shame!

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  10. I always wonder why reviewers hardly ever mention the glue situation, unless they're customizers. I've seen it mentioned in Amazon reviews, though. But yeah, mostly I wonder why more people aren't complaining - you'd think parents would react when the dolls' hair turns greasy on its own...


    I haven't bought any dolls with the new glue, but I heard it was supposed to be less prone to leaking, so what you're saying is bad news. :/

    Apparently something called Boreal Citrus Wonder is supposed to help, but it's onlysold in Canada so I haven't tried it: http://dolldirt.tumblr.com/post/144230253821/boreal-citrus-wonder

    Apart from that, I agree the best solution is not to buy Mattel's newer dolls anymore. :/

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    1. Oh dear! I live in the UK! I will have to carry on to use talcum powder! I don't know if the glue is new but I have noticed that the China made dolls leak very quickly and very badly. I have bought a Scarah Scream from Ebay a while ago. She was part of a 5 pack and I only wanted her. She was new still attached to her card. Her hair was a disaster and her head as hard as hell. I was shocked to see she was made in China. All my older MH made in China don't have any glue issues (lovely soft heads!). I have also the Spectra from the 13 wishes play set leaking horribly. It really upset me badly so I did not buy any of the other Spectras made in China with glue heads...and I really love Spectra.
      Luckily, the Barbie dolls I have are all a bit old and none of them have glue. I have only 3 ever after High. I hope they will be OK. The poor MH seems to be the victims! Unfortunately, I think the only way to get rid of this evil glue permanently is to re-root. I have never done it and I really don't have the time at the moment. And I have to say that I am scared to remove their heads!
      Well, as you said it so well, everybody loves Mattel's greasy glue!
      I have found your blog investigating the glue. I like it and I will visit again.
      I am like you, I can't figure out why the reviewers never mention the glue. Some of them have 300 dolls. I can't believe they have never noticed anything! This glue really bothers me. I wish Mattel would produce less dolls and focus more on the quality of their products.
      I saw some new "G2" MH today. I can't help feeling sorry for them. Poor Frankie...

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    2. I'm nowhere near Canada either, so we're in the same boat. :/ I've heard of several "fixes" but unfortunately they're all tmore or less emporary. Rerooting means you have to touch the glue, and I'm still not comvinced it's entirely safe... Plus, the glue makes it harder getting the hair out without ripping the scalp.


      I guess collectors who don't debox won't necessarily notice, or they might be young and assume that's how barbie's hair always has been? Idk. But since washing these dolls in hot water tends to make the glue leak, I'm more surprised that parents don't notice.

      I'd say stick to thrifting older dolls, but that comes with other risks...


      Glad you like the blog! I'm barely here anymore, though - andersonsallpurpose.tumblr.com is where I'm at these days.

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