After Care Instructions: How to care for your reborn baby doll
So you just adopted your first reborn baby doll, or, you're here for a reminder on the do's and don'ts when it comes to your reborn art doll. Either way, welcome and congratulations!
I may refer to your art doll as a "baby" throughout this blog for fun, but please remember that these are collectible art dolls, not toy dolls. They are not meant to withstand play from children unless specifically made that way by the artist.
As a disclaimer, these instructions are solely for vinyl reborn art dolls, not silicone reborn art dolls, which have their own care instructions.
Let's talk about some after care instructions to keep your collectible reborn art doll in new condition, maintain your financial investment, and keep your family safe too.
Treat Your Reborn Art Doll Like a Real Baby or Expensive Art Piece
The easiest way to ensure your baby will stay exactly this way forever, is to treat them like a real baby or like the expensive art piece it is. This means no sharp objects or fingernails near the baby, only hold with clean, dry hands (no moisturizers, creams or perfumes), never carry the baby by a limb, never leave in a hot car or other extreme temperatures and weather, do not touch their eyes or pull on their hair, always watch closely when animals are around, and take care of their hair and skin, which I'll explain more below. You have invested in a piece of art, so treat it like an expensive sculpt or or painting.
If your baby was rooted, never ever brush the hair against the way it was directionally rooted by the artist. Doing so will cause the hair to break off or fall out, even if it has been sealed from the inside with E6000 glue or other strong glue. Minimize the use of hats, bows and headbands or be very gentle if using them not to exfoliate or rub the hair too much. No ponytails if your baby did not come with a ponytail already. I do not recommend washing your baby's hair. However; if you ever need to wash it, never wash in cold water because this can cause the mohair to "felt." Use warm water, and try to wash it in the same direction it has been rooted.
In order to keep the hair from going dry and brittle, you must condition your baby's hair once per month at minimum. This can be done using mohair conditioner which can be purchased at your closest reputable reborn doll supply store or website, or, by using leave-in baby hair conditioner.
To condition the hair, add a little bit of distilled water to the toothbrush and shake off the excess. Spray one single pump of leave-in hair conditioner or mohair conditioner onto the toothbrush and brush your baby's hair with it. Moisten the toothbrush with distilled water and hair conditioner as necessary. A little goes a long way, so don't use too much! Too much water or conditioner causes your baby's skin to get shiny and ultimately lose it's realism. So keep the water off of the baby's skin as much as possible.
From time to time, your reborn will get dusty. I purchased a white makeup brush set that will never be used on anything but my reborns, and I dust them once per month around the eyes, ears, nails or anywhere they get dusty. Don't use black coloured blush brushes as this can cause colour transfer. Do not wet the brushes.
The more you handle and change your baby, the more you will inadvertently 'buff' the varnish your baby has been sealed with, and make it shiny. Think of it like buffing a car or buffing your fingernails: even though the file is gentle, repeated rubbing will make your nails or car shiny, without scratching, and it's the same when it comes to clothing rubbing your reborn's skin.
Not only does the handling itself cause buffing and shining, but the natural oils from your hands and skin can also transfer to the vinyl, causing shine as well. To avoid this, some collectors use a blanket to hold their reborn and never touch them with their bare hands. Another way to avoid this is to reduce the amount of changing and handling, or use plastic wrap to protect the baby's skin when changing.
In addition to limiting handling, never use anything wet to clean your baby's skin like baby wipes or water. Do not use creams, perfumes, or oils on your reborn's skin.
Your baby's eyes and eyelashes are very delicate, but may gather dust from time to time. Because they are so delicate, they must only be dusted if absolutely necessary and only with a very soft, clean, dye-free eyeshadow brush or similarly soft and colour-free makeup brush. Avoid touching the eyelashes or the eyes if at all possible.
Your baby's earrings are interchangeable (if reborn by me)! They are not glued in but may be hard to remove. Use care when pulling the earrings out with tweezers not to damage the earrings, or scratch the paint on your baby. You must use stainless steel, sterling silver or real gold earrings AND backings, not cheap earrings. Never use silicone earring backings as silicone does not react well with vinyl and will cause changes to the vinyl. Using cheaper earrings will cause the vinyl to turn green and this is irreversible.
Dressing your Reborn Art Doll
As a work of art, reborns should be handled and dressed as little as possible to avoid the becoming shiny, unless you don't mind applying shine remover as needed over time.
To avoid colour transfer or staining, never dress your baby in dark coloured clothing or objects such as dark or new denim, black clothing, navy blue or other saturated colours. Always wash all colourful clothing, blankets, and toys before using them on your reborn baby. Never put clothing on a doll that has just come out of the dryer, or on a baby who is hot from being outside or in the car or being mailed to you. The paint on your baby has been heat-set, so when the baby is warm, it is more apt to accept colour-transfer.
Be careful with your baby's limbs when changing them. Reborn doll artists like myself try not to tighten the zip tie around the limbs too tight in order to allow for movement. This means they can easily become detached when changing if you're too rough or bend them too much.
Your baby likely has a magnet in his or her mouth for their pacifier and may have another one on their head for a magnetic bow. They may have breathing mechanisms, heartbeats or warming pouches inside. Always keep magnetic parts away from individuals with hearing aids, pacemakers, or metal implants. The pacifier clip your baby comes with may pose a choking hazard to young children as well, so always supervise young children around reborn art dolls.
Travelling and Going through Security Screening at the Airport with your Reborn
Because reborn art dolls contain metal from the magnets, they will have to go through x-ray screening at the airport. The x-ray scanner will NOT harm your reborn baby. It is much safer to allow the baby to go through the x-ray scanner than to have screeners pat them down, or to take them through the walk through metal detector, as doing so may result in the screening officers having to open your reborn baby to see what's inside.
If an officer does want to see inside your baby, let them, and help them. Tell them that the best way to see inside would be to remove the head by squeezing it and removing it if the zip-tie is loose, or, by clipping the zip tie using nail clippers, cuticle scissors or another sharp tool.
Although this may be distressing for you, the baby's head can always be re-affixed easily; whereas a cut cloth body can not be as easily fixed. Always work with airport handlers. They have now become very used to seeing reborn baby dolls come through security as many passengers are travelling with them to reduce in-flight anxiety.
That's it! These tips should help you keep your baby in new condition, and retain it's resale value in the future.
If you have any questions or if I missed anything, please feel free to comment below.
May your reborn baby bring you peace, comfort and joy.