Thursday, June 16, 2022

Hairmazing Hairdorables by Just Play

I decided to take a little break from mermaids for a week or two, just in case some of you aren't interested in the underwater side of doll collecting.  But I'll return to the subject later so that I can explore a few of Mattel's best mermaid options.  In the meantime, I wanted to get back to the review that I was working on when the Mermaze Mermaidz stole my attention.  The dolls I'm going to look at today are from the Hairdorables Hairmazing collection.  Word play on the adjective "amazing" is popular in the doll world these days, isn't it?  "Hairmazing" doesn't work quite as well as "Mermaze," if you ask me, but--again--at least they didn't go with Hairmazeballs.  That makes me thinking of hacking cats.

Anyway, I reviewed the smaller, huge-headed, surprise-themed Hairdorables back in 2018, and found them a bit goofy--with a lot of plastic waste.  The newer Hairmazing dolls are basically the Hairdorables characters when they're all grown up and in high school.  The dolls still have caricatured faces and brightly colored hair, but as they matured, they appear to have grown into their heads and also acquired an impressive number of new joints!  The larger size and better articulation on these dolls made them something I didn't want to miss.

There are three waves of Hairmazing dolls available: the first release dolls, a Prom Perfect themed collection, and a brightly-colored Kaleidoscope trio.  The first two groups are really easy to find (and often on sale) but the Kaleidoscope girls are more elusive.  I gather Just Play had some distribution problems in 2021 that made these dolls rare in the United States.  There are still plenty of great options available, though, and I had a tough time deciding which of the dolls I should feature in this review.  Fortunately, my Patrons stepped in and, through a series of polls, they chose the dolls I'll look at today.  Thank you for the help, guys!  Sorry it took me so long to write the actual review.

Hairdorables Hairmazing Noah by Just Play, $19.99.

I'll start by quickly showing you the promotional photos for each of the three waves of dolls--just so you can see the fun variety that's available.

First, here are the hard-to-find Kaleidoscope girls from 2021:

From left: Sallee, Noah, and Rayne.
You can still find Sallee and Noah at places like Walmart, BJ's, or Kohl's, but Rayne (my favorite!) is sold out everywhere--even on eBay.  I didn't include these girls in my Patreon poll because they're hard to find and tend to be more expensive.

Here are the Prom Perfect dolls from 2020:

From left: Dee Dee, Bella, Kali, Noah, Harmony, and Willow.
These dolls have incredible outfits, but I've been wondering: how does the prom theme resonate in other countries?  This tradition has taken on huge importance here in the States, but is it mostly an American thing?  Just curious.

Here are the first wave characters--also from 2020:
From left: Dee Dee, Harmony, Noah, Kali, Willow, and Bella.
Noah won the choice for best first wave doll in my poll.  The competition was pretty close, though, with Kali and Willow also getting several votes.  It would have been fun to review Kali, since I got the child version of her character in my original Hairdorables review:

She's cuter than I remember.
Here's a close-up of how Kali looks as a teen:

From the 1980's?
I love her circuitry skirt!  But her thin cell phone looks lame.

I also really like Willow's rainbow and unicorn theme, so she was hard to resist:
Look at those shoes!
Noah is is definitely a standout, though, with her bright blue hair and tassel earrings, and I'm glad that she won the poll.  I'll look at Noah later in the review.  But first, I want to show you the overwhelming favorite from the Prom Perfect poll.  

This is a two-pack including Logan (the only boy character) and his prom date, Neila:

Hairdorables Hairmazing Prom Perfect Neila and Logan, $36.99.
This turns out to be a good time to review Neila and Logan, because while their suggested retail price is pretty high, they're currently on sale at Amazon for around $10, which is a huge bargain.

The Hairmazing dolls all come in large, fairly heavy boxes, and of course Neila and Logan have the largest and heaviest of these.  

About half of the box's volume is taken up by a plastic window compartment that shows off the dolls:

Neila is waving to her adoring fans.
The plastic compartment wraps around the side, too:


The other half of the box is made out of cardboard and is decorated with large, colorful cartoons of Neila and Logan:


The back of the box has an even larger version of this same graphic:


It's a little weird that Logan is asking Neila to prom while they're already dressed for the event.  Did he wait until the very last minute?  Get your act together, Logan!

There's a plastic sleeve that encircles the bottom quarter of the box, and this has to be removed before the box can be opened.  Once the sleeve is gone, the cardboard side of the box hinges open, like this:


The inside of the cardboard is decorated with an appropriately cheesy backdrop scene, complete with a balloon arch, lots of tinsel fringe, and a disco ball:


There's a lot of excessive packaging here, but I have to admit that this was a really fun box to open--and a really easy box to open, as these things go.

I removed the plastic container holding Neila and Logan so that we could see the whole backdrop:


The floor panel folded open to reveal a white instruction sheet:


This describes how to use the stand:

Not rocket science.
There were also two cardboard speakers hidden inside the folded floor.  These are meant to be inserted into slots at the back of the floor, where it says "flip me up:":


Here's the backdrop all set up:


I wasn't able to get the floor to lay flat right away, but after being weighted down for a few days, it looked much better--promise.

The cardboard compartments to the left of the backdrop are reminiscent of the original Hairdorables packaging.  This section has three perforated areas, each with a prom-themed shape.  Behind the shapes, I found several pink plastic bags:


Here's what that area looks like with all of the shapes removed:


This design is a slight improvement on the original Hairdorables packaging, which had little plastic bins inside each perforated segment:

The original Hairdorables packaging.
However, I think some people were able to use the plastic bins to create a wardrobe out of the box, which is a cute idea and makes the packaging less wasteful.

Once all of the bags were removed, the left side of the backdrop looked a bit strange:


So I cut that whole part of the box off.  This is how the backdrop looks now:


That's a nice backdrop for a doll display, but I'm not sure how useful it would be for play?  It's pretty flimsy and falls over a lot.  The speakers also tend to droop inside my humid house.

Also, to be authentic to an American prom, shouldn't the floor look like a basketball court?

The plastic bags don't really hold surprises, but rather the accessories that are missing from the displayed dolls, so I won't make a big deal about opening them.


Here's everything that was included:

Oooh!  Balloons!
I'll go through each accessory individually as I look at the dolls.  

So...let's look at the dolls!


Neila and Logan are displayed in a cute pose, with the stand poles mounted next to them.  I find it very odd that both dolls are barefoot.  This is basically a gimmick so that the shoes can be included in the "surprise" bags:


Logan can stand on his own without shoes because he has flat feet, but poor Neila has no way to stand without her shoes:


Neila's boots are made out of soft, semi-translucent black vinyl with gold glitter.  They have cutout shapes on the sides, and bright purple stiletto heels:

Those heels would trash a gym floor.
The soft vinyl makes it very easy to slide these boots onto Neila's legs, but it also means that the heels are bendable and don't offer much support.  I managed to get Neila to balance on her own briefly, but it wasn't easy!

Take the picture quickly, Emily!!
Like the smaller Hairdorables, Neila has eyes that glance upwards and to the side.  This makes it hard to get her to look at the camera:


I really like the expressiveness of side-glancing doll eyes in general, but these eyes are pretty extreme.  It's the upward angle of the gaze that makes Neila especially hard to work with.  

To play devil's advocate here, children are often looking down at their dolls when they play, so perhaps Neila's eye positioning makes it seem like she's looking back at the kids?  That's a bit of a stretch, but it might be true.

In any case, I wasn't able to get Neila to balance reliably on her own, so I assembled one of the stands to help her out:


The stand is made out of lightweight plastic and comes in three pieces (base, pole, grip) that were pretty easy to assemble.  The waist grip ratchets up and down into different positions, but this movement is not very smooth.

The plastic grip is tight-fitting around Neila's waist, and I had to be pretty aggressive to slide it over the bulk of the dress.  The stand holds her up adequately, though:


Here she is from the back:


The slogan of this brand is "bigger hair, still don't care," which, if you must ask, I still find crass.  More than that, though, the hair isn't particularly big. It certainly doesn't feel bigger than the original Hairdorables hair...

Now that's some big hair.
...although this isn't necessarily a fair comparison since Kali has so much curl in her hair and Neila's hair is more straight.

Neila's face is a slimmed-down version of the regular Hairdorables face, with a lot of added makeup:


For reference, here's what one of the smaller Hairdorables Neila dolls looks like.  This is Star Struck Neila (the character is really into stars and astronomy):

I love her head bopper!
The teen version of Neila has huge dark purple eyes rimmed with a swath of silver glitter eyeshadow.  Her painted eyelashes are also purple--practically the same shade as her irises:


Neila's eyebrows are light blue to match the streaks of color in her pale hair.  The brows are simple bands of color with a tiny chink at the inside edge to imply a hairy texture.  

She also has a line of the exact same color blue underneath her eyes.  I'll admit that this looks nice and balances the color in the face, but it also kinda looks like she has an extra eyebrow underneath her eye:

An underbrow?
Neila has nice iris detail, but it's strange that her pupils are dark purple and not black.  This bothered me with the Capsule Chix dolls, too (and the original Hairdorables).  But Ruby Amethyst (an artist who specializes in this style of face) was kind enough to explain in the comments that if the pupils had been pure black, it would have accentuated the exaggerated position of the gaze too much.  Blended eyes like Neila's make it easier to get away with unrealistic eye positions.  I never thought of that, but it makes total sense.

I monkeyed around with Neila's picture, coloring the pupils black, and it definitely makes her gaze look different...and a little unnerving.  It's very intense and not as soft:
  

Thank you for the insights, Ruby Amethyst!

My favorite of Neila's facial features is that instead of freckles, she has shooting stars across her nose and cheeks!  This is really clever:

Love it.
Like many play dolls these days, Neila has a flat profile with a compressed nose and mouth and a huge eye and forehead region:


Hanging down into Neila's face is a vinyl headdress that's sewn into her hair:


This piece is reminiscent of what Neila wore in her Shine Bright Hairdorables version:

That moon phase dress is epic.
The headdress was causing Neila's hair to get a little messy and lopsided, though, so I removed it:


The headdress is mostly gold vinyl, but it has some pale painted jewels and a pink sun at the top.  I like the design of this piece as it's shown on the cartoon version of Neila, with the dangling jewels and the delicate pink sun:

I also like that the cartoon Neila doesn't have an underbrow.
But of course it's hard to replicate that delicate detail with stiff vinyl.

Removing the headdress was pretty easy, but it left Neila's hair looking even messier:

Messy hair, don't care.
The original hairstyle is simple, with the hair around Neila's face pulled back into a single bouffant ponytail.

Most of the Hairmazing dolls have fairly simple hairstyles like this, actually, which makes sense for a play doll (the hair will likely get taken down).  But I keep coming back to the slogan and brand name here; these dolls are supposed to be all about their hair!  Other than the fun colors, I'm not feeling it.

To be fair, a few of the Prom Perfect dolls have impressive hair.  Dee Dee and Kali are good examples:


The only way for me to tidy Neila's hair was to take the original style down, so that's what I did:

Hm.  Maybe you should care, Neila?
The hair brushes out easily and feels smooth and nice, but it's not very pretty to look at.


It's a poofy, slightly wavy mass of pale silver highlighted by a darker seafoam blue.

I was fascinated by dolljunks' comment in the Mermaid High post about wavy doll hair.  Apparently, the wavy texture is because hair fiber tends to be stored on a spool.  So if no further styling or straightening is done, the hair remains wavy.  This makes perfect sense...and explains why so many play dolls have hair that looks like this!  Thank you, dolljunk!

The rooting on Neila's hair is pretty good, and her scalp is painted white to help camouflage the gaps:


I tied the hair back into a simple ponytail to get it out of the way while I looked at Neila's outfit.

She's wearing a short, pleated dress with a long purple overskirt that's permanently attached at the waist:


The overskirt is a little wrinkled, and bunches up in the back:


I like the dramatic effect of this skirt, though, and I'm sure I could remove the wrinkles with a really quick ironing session.

Could be better.
The pattern at the hem of the overskirt is only printed on the inside, so it looks fairly plain from the back:


But from the front, the sparking gold symbols look great:


In keeping with Neila's love for celestial things, the symbols here are astrological--the signs of the zodiac:

Astro signs

The short dress has a constellation pattern printed in glittery gold, and a large fabric moon accent on the bodice:


The straps are made out of clear vinyl, and so they're hard to see. 

The shape of the dress is nicely detailed.  It has two overlapping sections in the front, the top of which is delicately pleated, and the bottom of which has three separate panels sewn together to created a lined effect:

That's a really nice play doll dress.
The back of the dress is plain:

...with gaping holes in the backs of the boots.
The dress opens down the back with velcro, and is easy to put on and take off.


The bottom of the shorter dress is finished with a tiny little hem:


And the stitching inside looks solid and careful overall: 


The clothing was a pleasant surprise here.  The style of Neila's dress is not my personal favorite, but I really enjoy the celestial details, the careful sewing, and the intricate design of the shorter dress.

As pleased as I was with Neila's dress, though, I was impatient to get a look at her joints!

Overall, she has a skinny, short-waisted body with super-long legs.  Her underwear is painted white, and--sure enough--she has a lot of joints:

Just like a typical prom.
She has a little bit of molded detail on her back, along with a 2019 Just Play copyright:


Neila is about 10.5 inches tall, so an inch shorter (and a heck of a lot skinnier!) than a Barbie doll like Lena:

Hairmazing Neila (left) and Barbie Lena (right).
The original Hairdorables have five points of articulation, but Neila has twelve!


Most of the joints are well-designed, too.  I'm especially happy that the head can move in many different ways, since this was an issue for me in the last few dolls I reviewed.

In addition to being able to spin her head all of the way around...

I see you.
Neila can also lift her head up and down:

(there's a bit of torso movement here, too--sorry)
And tip it from side to side:


Neila's shoulders, elbows, and wrists are all rotating hinges with good range of motion.  Her arms can lift up to almost the level of her shoulders:


And they can spin all around:


Both her elbows and her wrists can bend to about 90 degrees:


So she can touch her hips and her mouth:



She can almost cross her arms in front of her, too:


I noticed that one of Neila's hands had a gap at the wrist, and this made me wonder if the hands were removable.

Sure enough, I didn't have to pull very hard before the hand came all of the way out:


I like the shape of the hands.  They are realistic and have a fair amount of detail--even some tiny little fingernails!


Neila also has a joint in her upper torso.  This doesn't have a huge range of motion, but it can tip forwards and backwards a bit:


And can also move from side to side:


Neila's hips are rotating hinges, but she can't slide into side splits very well:


She can do amazing front-to-back splits, though...


...in fact she's a bit of an over-achiever!

Dang.  That's impressive.
She can also sit on the ground nicely, without having too lean back too much:

Those are really long legs.
Her knees are yet another pair of rotating hinges, and these can bend to 90 degrees, allowing her to kneel on two knees:


And--with a bit of balance--on one:


She can sit cross-legged, too, but her lower legs are so long that this looks funny!


She sits nicely in a chair, too, although she tends to lean back:



Neila's body feels a bit flimsy at times.  For example, her left knee joint is loose and can't hold a pose very well, and her knees are so small that they feel fragile, but she's a really fun doll to pose.


With the help of the stand, she can strike action poses:


Or glamor poses!


As I started to get Neila dressed again, I added in some of her accessories.  The first things I wanted to try were these star-themed earrings:


One of the earrings is a single star and the other looks like a constellation.

Unfortunately, it's very hard to get the earrings into the ears.  I put a lot of stress on the little ear peg as I was trying to jam the constellation earring into place.  At one point I thought it would break!


I finally managed to get the earrings most of the way in...but now they're hard to get out.  At least they won't fall out and get lost.

The earrings look nice, especially the constellation, but the long and pointy shape gets tangled in Neila's hair all of the time.  It also prevents her from moving her head freely:

That's the price of fashion.
Here she is with both earrings:


Next, I put Neila's hair back into something resembling the original style, and added the headdress back: 


The headdress has little combs at either end, to help it stay in place, but it still falls off a lot.

Neila also comes with a plastic corsage that looks like a white lily:


There's a gold-painted wrist grip on the back:


The corsage fits nicely onto Neila's wrist:


This is a fun accessory, especially because Neila's arm articulation is so good.


Neila's last accessory is a black heart-shaped purse that's made out of solid vinyl.  It does not open:


The purse looks fine with Neila's outfit, but I wish it had continued the cool astronomy theme from the rest of her ensemble:

Random heart purse.
I think the balloons are meant to go with Logan, as part of his promposal surprise, but Neila wanted to play with them herself:

Can you blame her?
The balloons are made out of hollow plastic and come in two shades of pink (one has a bit of glitter in it) and metallic gold:

I love that they're all different colors!
I don't think I've ever seen an accessory like this with a play doll.  It's really festive and fun and the balloons look realistic.

Unfortunately, nobody thought to fill the balloons with helium, and so they hang straight down:

Like some kind of strange medieval weapon.
And they tend to fall off Neila's hand:

Ker-thunk.
But with a little magic (and a spoon full of sugar?) that problem is fixed!

Whoa!
Don't float away, Neila!

I'll be back in a bit!
While Neila is busy floating around my neighborhood, let's take a closer look at her date, Logan.

Logan came with a pair of shoes, some sunglasses, a promposal sign, and a stand:

And the balloons that Neila stole from me!
Even though Logan can stand perfectly well on his own without the shoes, I decided to put those on first:


They're black sneakers with white soles and gold laces.  This footwear choice seems pretty casual to me, considering the rest of Logan's outfit, but I imagine these sneakers are way more comfy than formal dress shoes:

Dancing shoes!
I like the pop of glitz that the gold laces add, and the paint job is very nice.

Here's Logan all dressed and ready for prom:



Logan has a medium skin tone that looks a bit more orange in my close-ups than what I notice in real life.


He has bright, pale turquoise eyes that glance to his right (and upwards):

He has a pretty good smolder.
These eyes have no distinct eyelashes and less iris detail than what we saw with Neila.  Because, you know, girls have fancier eyes than boys:


Logan has the same style of eyebrow as Neila, though, with just a hint of hair texture at the inner edge of each brow.

For anyone who's curious, here's a version of Logan as a kid:

Hairdudeables Hang Ten Logan.
Teen Logan looks quite similar to his younger self, but he has a fancier hairstyle.

Logan has a lot of rooted hair on the top of his head, in three shades of blue, but the sides are flocked to look like they've been shaved.  This is a pretty common hairstyle for male play dolls these days (Signature Looks Sean leaps to mind):


The flocking isn't especially thick, but it's uniform, and the color matches nicely with the darkest shade of Logan's rooted hair.


The rooted hair comes slicked back over Logan's head and held in place with a lot of gel.  The texture of the hair feels stiff and crispy.  With some effort, I was able to move the hair to the sides and discover a rooted part:


I'm not really sure if the hair was supposed to be left in its slicked-back style, or if it was meant to be relaxed around the part?  Regardless, if Logan is being played with, eventually the hair will lose its shape and look more like this:

It's still good smolder, though, right?
Logan is decked out in a snazzy blue tuxedo with purple accents and a lily boutonniere that matches Neila's corsage:


The jacket has a printed pattern on the front that looks like shooting stars:


Shooting stars don't have bendy paths, though (do they?):

Maybe it's a firefly pattern?  A UFO?
I'm not sure what Logan's hobbies and passions are, but it was nice of him to make an effort to match Neila's astronomy theme.

Anyway, the jacket is pretty tight-fitting and a little hard to get off:

I've got this, don't worry.
The construction is fine, although the purple accents have unfinished edges and might fray over time:


Also, the printed pattern does not continue on the back of the jacket:

A black hole, I guess.
One really cool feature of this jacket is that it has a little button hole that accommodates Logan's lily boutonniere!


And the boutonniere is removable:

That's the smallest button hole I've ever seen.
Underneath the jacket, Logan is wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt/tuxedo pant jumpsuit thing: 


One sleeve of the shirt is inexplicably rubber-banded to Logan's arm:

What contraband are you planning to conceal under your suit, Logan?
The shirt has some gold embroidered buttons and a little matching ribbon bow tie:


The pants are made out of a thick, satiny, deep royal blue fabric with ribbon accents along the sides:


And the whole thing has a velcro seam in the back for easy dressing and undressing:


This is a strange little item of clothing, but it's quite well-made with nice fabrics and good detail:


Logan has a highly-articulated body, but his joints are not exactly the same as Neila's.  Right away you can see that he's missing a torso joint:

And his underwear isn't painted.

His head can spin around...


And you might notice that this view exposes some stray hair gel that got stuck to his left cheek:


But Logan can't move his head up and down or from side to side.

Logans shoulders, elbows, and wrists are all rotating hinges and behave very similarly to Neila's equivalent joints:



However, one difference I noticed is that Logan's wrists do not spin around as easily as Neila's.


The hands can rotate, but it's very hard to do.  I removed one of Logan's hands to get a better look:


The hands have nice shape and detail, but you can see in the next picture that the attachment peg has some little tabs of plastic sticking out on either side.  I suspect these are what make hand rotation difficult:



Logan does not have as much flexibility in his legs as Neila does, either.

That's not a split.
Which is particularly evident in his sub-standard front-to-back splits:

I'd like to see you do this, Emily!
He can sit on the ground nicely, though, without any support from his arms:

Piece of cake.
His knees are rotating hinges, but they don't bend quite as much as Neila's do, and so it was a balance challenge to get him to kneel:

I did it, though!
And he struggles to look comfortable when he's sitting on the ground with his knees bent:

Erk.
Eeep!
This works, though:

VoilĆ !
And he sits in a chair like a pro:


A few random things that I noticed about Logan's body are that he has very strong calf muscles:


And the smoothing on his side seams isn't very good:

Why not just use a pick axe?

Logan balances really well on his own (even in some action poses)...


But I still wanted to try out his stand--just to be thorough.  

The two stands in this set are virtually identical, except for a small difference in the molded shape of the waist grips:

The one on the left has an extra lip on the inside of the grip; a grip lip.
The fact that the waist grips are the same size worried me.  Logan has a much wider waist, so how was either stand going to work on him?

I picked a random stand and assumed it wouldn't work, but with some effort, I got the grip around Logan's waist:

I can't breathe though, Emily!
It's a super-tight fit, and the stand is likely to break if I do this too much, but now at least Logan can strike some real action poses!



I was curious to see how much Logan's tight-fitting clothing would impact his flexibility, so I put the jumpsuit back on.  It doesn't slow him down much at all!

Pretty impressive!
And he balances really well in his shoes--with no camera trickery whatsoever.

Show off.
The jacket restricts his arm movement a bit, but it's not too bad:


Logan's accessories include these blue sunglasses:


I like how his eyes are just barely visible through these glasses:


And of course he comes with his promposal sign:


The sign has a handle on the back:


But it's hard to align the sign and Logan's eyes in the same direction, so I had to give him some promposal coaching:

Hold the sign straight and make eye contact, Logan!
He finally figured it out...or got close enough:

That might work.
Finally, it was time for the big moment!


And she said "yes:"

Aw.
I tried using the packaging backdrop for some prom photos, but the scale is off.  Both dolls totally dwarf the balloon arch:

And there's no room for Logan to show off his dance moves.
Both dolls have extreme side-glancing eyes, but at least they're looking in opposite directions so that they can gaze at each other...or try.

Logan looks a little distracted.
Neila and Logan offer a nice overview of what this brand is capable of.  Both dolls are well-articulated and fun to pose, and both have interesting outfits with some surprisingly great details and fun themes.  I found the side-glancing eyes a bit hard to work with at times, but have to admit that both dolls have charming personalities--a lot of which is thanks to those eyes.

Now that you've gotten a good look at a few of these dolls, I want to mention another Hairmazing product that's kicking around the internet and in Walmart stores.  These dolls have some packaging similarities to the Hairdorables, but are by no means the same thing:

Hairmazing Fashion Dolls by Xtreme Play, $24.88 from Walmart.
The brand name on these dolls is the same--it's just missing the "Hairdorables" part.  The theatre light font is also identical to what we saw on Neila and Logan's box:


The back of the box has bright, bold cartoon versions of the characters, just like the Hairdorables boxes:

The box art is appealing.
These dolls are a product of Xtreme Play, LLC, which is owned by Just Play:


As far as I can tell from looking at their website, Harimazing is the only brand under the Xtreme Play umbrella.

There are seven dolls in this set, and they don't really look like any of the Hairdorables characters--although they all have colorful hair and many of them have side-glancing eyes:


Here are two close-up examples:

Okay, her face is pretty cute.
One of the dolls is a fairy, with little plastic wings on her back.  This one is a mermaid with a fabric tail:

Many of the dolls have glittery skin like this.
I took one of the dolls out of the box for a super-quick inspection.

She has very few joints (neck, shoulders, hips), most of her body is hollow plastic, and her legs are painted pink:

I can't get very excited about this doll.
To me, these dolls have none of the appeal of the Hairdorables; the hair is stringy and feels strange, the clothes are stiff and simple, and the bodies have practically no articulation....they're generic and unremarkable.  Getting so many dolls for $25 might feel like a deal, but I'd recommend getting one Hairdorable Hairmazing doll instead.

That said, the individual budget dolls sell for just under $5 at Walmart, which is a price that's hard to match...unless you find Neila and Logan on a $9 sale!  And many of the smaller Hairdorables go on sale for $5, too. 

Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent, but I won't have time to review the Walmart Hairmazing dolls separately, so I wanted to throw in that quick heads-up.

We still need to check out first wave Noah, though, so for anyone who's still with me and wants to take a quick look at one more Hairdorables Hairmazing doll, here we go!

Hairmazing Hairdorables first wave Noah, $19.99.
I won't get into too much detail about the box, but it's heavy, bright, and colorful.  There's a window so that the actual doll is visible, but most of the decoration consists of cartoon graphics of the different first wave characters:


I often find myself liking the box art more than the actual doll, but in this case I prefer Noah's real face to the cartoon version:


The front of Noah's box opens like a book:


And then the right side folds out to reveal the perforated compartments:


In between Noah and the compartments, there's a fold-down runway:

Or is it a swimming pool?
Each doll in the first wave has a custom runway design.


This box reminds me a lot of the original Hairdorables packaging.  There are four numbered compartments that hold the six "surprises."  Each compartment is decorated with the face of a different character:


Inside the compartments, I found four plastic bags:

Pile o' plastic.
Here are all of the accessories that were hidden in those bags:


Noah comes with a roll brush, and I can't say I've ever seen a doll with this style of brush before!


I usually just toss these little accessory brushes aside, but this one is pretty unique so I was excited to find it (it works in Noah's hair, too!).  Apparently all of the dolls have a different style of brush, which is cool, except that I get insanely curious about this type of thing, so now of course I'll have to track down photos of all the brushes online.  There goes my afternoon.

I'll look at Noah's other accessories as we go along.

Noah came mounted onto a plastic shell alongside the pole of her stand:

Also barefoot.
I was hoping that Noah's shoes might help her balance a little better than Neila's spiky heels did.  They certainly look more sturdy:


Sadly, I wasn't even able to get a single shot of Noah balancing on her own. She really needs that stand!

The stand in this set is the same as the ones that come with Neila and Logan, except for the fact that it's silver:


Like Neila, Noah has eyes that glance sideways and upwards:


I like the soft blue of Noah's eyes, and I also like her multicolor, star-flecked eyeshadow.  However, her eyebrow color doesn't really coordinate with her hair (the color is too green) so that seems slightly out of place.


But at least the color under her eyes looks more like makeup than an underbrow.

Teen Noah looks a lot like her younger self:

Series 3 Naturally Noah
Teen Noah's hair, in particular, is almost exactly like this smaller version.

The hair is long, wavy, and thick.  It's bright blue for the most part, with a bit of blonde peeking out from underneath:


I really like this color.  I also like some of the fancy elements of Noah's hairstyle, like the twist on the right side of her head:


And the little braid that runs across the top:


The Hairmazing brand name fits better with Noah than it does with Neila; Noah's hair might not be amazing, but it's certainly a focal point.

Noah's sunglasses came tied to her head, and I had to snip them off so that I could see all of the hairstyle details.  The glasses have greenish lenses and gold rims striped in white:


But the lenses on these glasses are solid vinyl, so there's no way Noah can see anything when she's wearing them:


One of my favorite things about Noah is her outfit.  Neila's dress had some elements that I liked a lot, but I wasn't crazy about the style.  In contrast, I love the style of Noah's outfit.  It's cohesive and attractive:



The off-the-shoulder blouse has a colorful stripe pattern and flared sleeves:


The construction of this piece is nice, although many of the edges are unfinished:  

I'm not sure if all of that will fray over time?
The unfinished edge at the waist is the most noticeable because this area wants to roll upwards, which can make it slightly tricky to tuck the blouse back into the pants:


It feels bold to pair this stripey top with floral pants, but that's exactly what Noah has done...and I think it works:


The pants are really the highlight of the outfit.  They have a high-waisted top and flared legs with beautiful embroidered flowers:


The embroidery is really impressive!


Another thing that's impressive is that the fabric on these pants is so stiff and thick that the pants can balance on their own!

Pantmazing!
They can even balance in some action poses:


They have excellent articulation, too, with almost limitless joints.

They can do passable side-to-side splits:


And excellent front-to-back splits!

Better than Logan's splits, for sure!
They can even sit in a chair, although my mother would tell them they're slouching:

Sit up straight, Pants!
Overall, I must say, this movement is very impressive--especially for a pair of pants.

Underneath her pants, Noah's body is basically the same as Neila's.  It even has the same skin tone:


For some reason, though, Noah's underwear isn't painted.

Here's Noah back in her outfit for a few pictures:



The accessory I was most excited about are these huge tiered tassel earrings:


Each tassel is a different color, and all of the pieces are separate, so there's some flexibility in the shape of the earring:


The earrings fit into Noah's ears more easily than Neila's earrings, but it's still a tight fit.


The earrings get in the way of Noah's head movement, but it's worth it because they look so impressive!

That's a statement.
I think this brand should have been named after the huge, creative earrings--not the hair!

Earmazing?  Earringmazing? Amazearring? Amazearringballs?
Noah also comes with this large lemon slice purse:


It's made out of flexible vinyl and could hold small items:


The splash of yellow is really fun with this outfit!

Big purse, big earrings...don't care.
Noah's last accessory is this vinyl flower strip:


The strip looks designed to circle around and close with a peg-and-hole insertion, like this...


But the vinyl is so stiff that the closure only stays in place for a few milliseconds before it pops back open:


At first I thought this was a belt, which would look nice:


But it's actually meant to encircle the twist at the top of Noah's head.  Too bad it won't stay in place, because this would have been really pretty!


I was reasonably happy with Neila, but I just love Noah.  Her bright blue hair is really fun, her face makeup is attractive, and her outfit is wonderful--especially her pants and earrings.

I think Logan might feel the same way I do, because I caught him making some really last-minute prom plans...


Neila was hurt by this at first, of course, but with her evening suddenly free, she was able to have another epic balloon adventure!

And Noah and Logan had a Hairmazing time dancing the night at away:

Match made in Hairven.

Bottom line?  I remember being disappointed by the original Hairdorables.  I couldn't relate to their exaggerated features, and I didn't think that the hair was impressive or high-quality enough to warrant the brand name.  They also debuted at a time when I was starting to grow weary of the surprise toy epidemic, which surely soured my opinion.  Still, they had more versatility and play potential than many competing blind bag toys, and for that I gave them credit.  With today's review, I had a low-key comparison between the Hairmazing dolls and the smaller Hairdorables running through my head most of the time.  It was fun to contrast these two toys, especially after a four year break since that original review.

I still struggle a little to relate to the exaggerated faces of these dolls, especially because of the extreme side-glance in the eyes (it's hard to get them to look at me!).  However, the faces are more appealing than the original Hairdorables faces...and those original faces have grown on me over time.  I really like the happy expressions, and I respect how the designers kept some of the most identifiable characteristics of the brand--like those exaggerated eyes--and transferred them onto slimmed-down, better proportioned heads.  The eye details and face makeup, especially on Noah and Neila, add to my appreciation.  I love Neila's starry freckles and Noah's elaborate eyeshadow, and both dolls have crisp features with no noticeable defects.  I wish Logan's eyes had a bit more detail; it seems like he didn't get quite the level of design attention that the main characters enjoyed.

The complaints I had about the original Hairdorables hair didn't feel as prominent this time around.  The hair on these dolls is fine; it feels nice, brushes easily, and does not seem any more prone to tangles than other play dolls with similar hair texture.  I really love Noah's hair, in particular, with it's bold color and cute embellishments.  My complaint in this case, if you can even call it a complaint, is that for a brand with the slogan, "bigger hair, still don't care," the hair really isn't that big.  But honestly, big hair would probably be a tangled mess, so it's hard to put that in the negative column.  I think that the earrings in this line are more noteworthy than the hair, though.  Too bad there isn't a clever brand name for that (I still haven't thought of one).

Thankfully, the surprise element with these dolls has been relegated to a few hidden bags that contain predictable accessories.  The doll that you receive in each box is clearly displayed and not a surprise at all.   There's still waste involved in trying to pass off the accessories as surprises, but it's not terrible (a few plastic bags) and there's a genuine effort to make the packaging itself reusable for games or display.  Furthermore, the doll boxes are some of the easiest and most fun to open that I've encountered in a while.  I don't need a box opening experience, I'm just relieved when de-boxing isn't an ordeal.

The best things about these dolls (aside from their earrings) are their clothing and articulation, and that's not something I remember noticing much with the original Hairdorables.  The Hairmazing articulation is great.  Some of the joints might feel awkward or breakable at times (like Logan's wrists or Neila's knees), but none of the joints actually broke.  I'm a bit bummed that the girls can't balance without their stands, but at least the dolls came with workable--if slightly flimsy--stands.  Logan's stand doesn't fit very well, but he hardly needs it.  Overall, I had a blast posing these characters, and I think their well-engineered joints add a lot to their personalities.  The clothes were also a nice surprise.  Each and every outfit has some little detail that impressed me: Neila's short dress has beautiful tailoring and decoration (and I love the zodiac signs on the overskirt!), Logan's jumpsuit tuxedo is flexible and well-made, and Noah's outfit is a total delight.  The intricate embroidery on her pants is a rarity in the play doll sphere.  When a doll line has hidden assets like this, it can become quite addictive.  I find myself wanting to see all of the different outfits, earrings, hairstyles (and even brushes!) in person.

I wish I could share, for each of my reviews, how many times I visit certain websites for any given doll brand.  While I wasn't completely blown away by the Hairmazing teens, they did manage to cast some sort of spell over me.  I think I've visited Amazon's pages for these dolls about seventy times in the past two weeks, pouring over the details of each character and wondering who might have some hidden treasure feature that makes me want to add them to my collection.  For reasons I partly understand and mostly don't, I like these dolls quite a lot--more, certainly, than the smaller Hairdorables.  I'm surprised that the Hairmazing line appears to be discontinued while the smaller dolls are still alive and well on the market.  That doesn't fit with my overall assessment, which is that the little tykes I reviewed in 2018 have grown up to be much better dolls.

25 comments:

  1. Minnesotagirl here. I have a lot of thoughts about this line, but at the moment I just keep seeing her uniboob. šŸ™ƒ

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    1. Haha, didn't even see that! It reminds me of some of the vinyl BJDs out there.

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  2. Neila's name is pretty clever, being an homage to Neil Armstrong while also being "alien" backward.
    Also, the pants articulation section made my day.

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    1. Wow! Didn't even notice that word play. That's a nice touch.

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    2. That is so cool!

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    3. That IS clever! And clever of you to notice! Wow. I didn't notice either of those things. What a perfect name for her--and I love how it sounds, too. :)

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  3. Oh, Emily. The pants articulation bit was the highlight of the review! Details like this are what draw me to your blog. Noah's outfit reminds me of trendy fashions from my teenage years, it was a pleasant surprise to see them in 2022.

    You wanted to know about prom in other countries. You are right, we don't make such a big deal out of it, and high school is not the centre of social life either. A class has 30ish students who have the same subjects and schedule. We have several classes of the same grade and we often know the other students, but as we don't study together, we have little to talk about. A prom (ball) happens after the 9th and 12th grade and is usually separate for each class and their teachers. Some students bring their parents and/or siblings. Everyone in the class can go if they want to and can afford it, it is not necessary to be invited or have a date. In fact, if you date someone outside of class, I don't think you can bring them. The prom takes place at a nice restaurant with a dancing floor. There are no king and queen and no live bands as far as I know - I didn't go to either of mine. There is alcohol and at the end of the night students go out to "meet the sunrise".

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    1. How interesting to read about your end-of-high-school celebration ball! Thank you for sharing that. It sounds really nice, actually, although if you pay for your own dinner, I can see how it could be cost prohibitive for some. I especially like the "meet the sunrise" part! With the right people, that could be really magical. Prom and graduation ceremonies are getting more and more fancy here. Beyond the promposal tradition, now a lot of schools do huge school-sponsored, all-night after parties for graduation with all kinds of activities (sports, concerts, comedy shows, bouncy houses, boat cruises, etc.) designed to keep kids from drinking. Nothing like when I was in high school, that's for sure.

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    2. Thanks, you're more generous than me! Our kind of prom sounds deathly boring to me. I'd much rather party in a decorated schoolroom (we don't have a basketball court in most schools) and reminisce about fun or difficult moments from the same setting than go to a strange place with unfamiliar staff. We have weddings and other adult events for that! I think high school proms should be centred around school, US style. The "meet the sunrise" part does sound kinda fun, if you have a close group of friends, but it can be recreated with a significant other any time later in life.

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  4. Lovely review, Emily! It's sad to see these dolls being discontinued since they had so much potential. The bright fun colors, awesome outfits and accessories did make them stand out, but I wonder if they were really marketed all that well. Advertising and spreading the word has never been so important in the doll market considering the fierce competition from other companies nowadays.

    To answer your question about prom in other countries: here in the Netherlands high schoolers do get to attend this final ''goodbye dance'' of some sorts, but it's much less elaborate and surrounded by traditions than in the US. To my knowledge, prom themed series within doll lines have sold just as well here as other series, probably because everyone likes a doll in a fancy dress and the actual theme doesn't matter as much.

    I'm glad you reviewed Neila & Logan and first wave Noah. Looking at all the promotional pictures, they are probably also the dolls I would've gravitated towards the most, besides Kaleidoscope Noah, first wave Willow, Prom Perfect Bella (what a strange but interesting look!) and Prom Perfect Willow (I NEED to touch the sequins on that skirt). Logan and Neila's balloon accessory is, indeed, super cute. Since you mentioned you hadn't seen such an accessory before, here are two others that come to mind: the Monster High Freak du Chic Scaregrounds playset with Rochelle doll and My Scene Masquerade Madness Chelsea both come with similar balloons. I own the ones that come with Rochelle and they're just a joy to play around with.

    About the budget Hairmazing dolls by Xtreme Play -- I've previously watched a review of them on Youtube and even though they're nowhere near as good as the original Hairmazing Hairdorables, I still think they all look pretty sweet. That big box of cute dolls would probably make a great present for a younger child when shopping on a budget. They certainly look a lot better than most budget dolls I've seen floating around over here. Perhaps it's something to take a closer look at on Patreon?

    Finally, I just have to mention that you had me laughing out loud with the Pantmazing poses. I sense you have found a new niche in the toy market, and the same goes for the Amazearringballs (who could resist such a brand name?!)

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    1. Hi Tali! I'm so glad the comments are working for you again. Thank you for persisting! :D

      I'm not 100% sure the Hairmazing line is discontinued, but they don't appear on the Just Play website anymore, and it's been a while since that Kaleidoscope trio. I felt the same about Prom Perfect Willow's sequined skirt, by the way, so I'll admit that I bought her, too. :)

      TWO other balloon accessories like this? Wow! What an amazing memory you have. I Googled both of those and you're right! I especially love that My Scene Chelsea with her little Chihuahua! The balloons in those sets look like they're better at "floating" upright, lol.

      Thank you for answering my question about prom in other countries! I'm quite curious about this, especially because it's become so huge around here. But you make a good point that it shouldn't matter much to doll sales. Nobody I know has been to a royal ball, either, but ball gowns on dolls are still appealing. ;)

      I had thought to donate the budget Hairmaizing dolls, but they would make a good Patreon review first--good call. There are some mini dolls in that line, too, and those look very sweet, so I can include them. The limited articulation is less of a big deal with mini dolls.

      I'm glad you like the pantmazeballs pants! Perhaps my favorite doll pants ever?? ;D

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    2. I love that you couldn't resist that sequined skirt either, hahaha!
      Those balloons probably do ''float'' pretty well! Though I must say that the Monster High balloons are also quite a heavy accessory and they have no issue staying upright either.
      I think it would make a lovely Patreon review, especially with the minis included. You can always donate afterwards :)
      Also, you should know that I now expect at least one amazeballs pun per review. I simply can't live without them anymore.

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  5. Thanks for another fun review! I loved the pant articulation analysis. The 2-pack on Amazon has been tempting me lately as well.

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    1. It's hard to beat that price, right? Five bucks per doll! :-O

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  6. I can see the appeal of these dolls, the brightly coloured hair is very attractive and I imagine kids love that aspect. The body proportions are too exaggerated for my taste though.

    I think in the UK there's been a trend to calling school end of year events proms, but I'm not sure how much of the rest of the prom experience carries over. People do dress up, get their hair and make up done and some choose to arrive in hired limos. When I left school in 2003 people did all of those but it was called a "leavers' do" not a prom. We had a sit down meal in a large moderately fancy hotel, there was a photographer and I think there must have been some sort of entertainment but I can't remember what. Some of our teachers came too. They also served alcohol, both on the tables for us to help ourselves to during dinner and from a bar. Most of the students would have been legal drinking age (18) but I was a week short of my 18th birthday and my best friend wasn't turning 18 for 3 months. No one cared then, I think they would be more cautious now. There wasn't any pressure to have a date and no prom queen votes or anything like that.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing the details of your leavers' do celebration! These stories are becoming one of my favorite parts of this review! I like the idea of a sit-down dinner--that makes the event feel really special. And the approach to alcohol seems healthy to me; it encourages alcohol as an accompaniment to a nice dinner--not a recreation in and of itself. I'm not sure what the solution is to the alcohol problems we have with prom in this country. The statistics are bad.

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  7. As an artist who specialises in illustrating these kind of exaggerated features, I can say the reason the pupils of her eyes are not black is both an artistic choice and also because making them black would make obvious the odd angle of the gaze. Keeping the pupils more blended in tonally means you can get away with much more unrealistic eyes and it still looks acceptable.

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    1. Hi Ruby Amethyst, it's wonderful to have your analysis of the eyes! I can see what you mean; black pupils would probably be much worse! I'd love to add your expertise into the body of the review--crediting you of course--if you don't mind? It makes me think about the face paint in a completely different way. Thank you!

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  8. In Poland we have some kind of the prom at the end of each school. The most formal prom is at the end of high school and is called "StudniĆ³wka". The name means "100 days" and means that there is around 100 days to final exams. It often starts with "Polonez" dance (it is traditional polish dance with pretty simple steps). The thing is it can be pretty expensive party ( you need to pay for yourself and your partner if he/she is not from the same school).I haven't been to my "studniĆ³wka" in high school because it was to expensive for my family at that time. However I was at final ball at middle school and it was lot of fun. We made the decor, put on best dressed and had a lot of fun. It was 10 times cheaper than studniĆ³wka but also less formal. It was organised in local culture center.

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  9. And about Hairdorables I have three small ones and I love them. They are cute and fun to open.Love the boxes too.

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  10. I remember getting a handful of the blind box ones (IT was also Britt! I didn't want her!) so I stopped paying attention to them period. I didn't know they were being discontined - I really like the Neila.

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  11. Hahaha! The interlude where Noah's trousers got their own articulation evaluation was hilarious! XD

    This line seems much better than I thought it was?? I dismissed these dolls at first, but having read your review, they actually seem really nicely done? Their articulation sounds like it's basically on a par with Monster High, which is something I didn't expect! How strange that these full-size dolls have been discontinued, while the smaller ones are still going strong. I wouldn't have predicted that-- if anything, I would perhaps have expected the smaller ones to be retired as these filled the gap. :0

    Wish they'd made more boy characters in this line! I think Logan's pretty neat!

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  12. I love this review - like the dolls, it's full of funny and well-crafted moments to enjoy.
    Here in France there is no equivalent to prom. The people you go to school with are just that, schooling colleagues. There's no enforced socialisation and no particular symbolism. I'm sure if you're popular and not too awkward as a teenager prom could be a big highlight, but from my cultural perspective it all seems very exclusionary... school means bullying and social hierarchies, and it's just as well those stay at school here.

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  13. Thank you, Emily, for another fun review! In South Africa, our final year high school students are called 'grade twelves' or 'matrics', and we have what is called a 'Matric Farewell' every year where students get dressed up in formal attire and attend a formal dinner and dance event hosted by their school. I'm actually going to a matric farewell on Thursday evening because my hubby is a high school teacher and the staff and their partners are invited. The academic year starts in February and ends in November, so the matric farewell usually falls halfway through the academic year so that the students aren't distracted as they enter the stage where they will start writing their end of year trial or preliminary examinations and then their final examinations.

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