Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Healthy Roots Gaiana

I've had my eye on the Healthy Roots company since way back in October of 2021 when I started to think about blogging again.  I saw the original Healthy Roots doll, Zoe, at Target and really wanted to buy her, but at that time the $80 price tag was daunting.  Now, a year or so later, and with the help of my generous Patrons, this kind of doll is something I can review.  The great thing is that since I waited for so long, by the time I was ready to buy my doll, there were two new characters in the Healthy Roots lineup: Gaïana and Marisol.

Healthy Roots are 18-inch play dolls with wigged hair in three different realistic curly textures.  The line was created by artist Yelitsa Jean-Charles as a way to help young Black girls feel great about their curls.  The dolls all feature synthetic hair that supposedly looks and behaves just like real hair.  It's even possible to use standard hair care products on these dolls.  I don't have a great track record for dealing with curly doll hair, so I was a little nervous about investigating this brand, but I was also very curious to see if the impressive claims about the hair fiber are true.

The dolls are for sale on the Healthy Roots website for $84.99 plus $15 shipping, or at Target for $79 and free shipping.  I pre-ordered Gaïana from Healthy Roots back in October, and my first impression of her was so good that I immediately grabbed Marisol from Target.  I'll show you a few pictures of Marisol today, but the review will be mostly about Gaïana.  

It might look like Gaïana's photo shoot was in the Caribbean, like the mermaids in my last review, but this is actually back home at the Jersey Shore:

Healthy Roots doll, Gaïana, $84.99.

Gaïana came in a large blue cardboard window box:

One side of the box is covered with details about the different textures of curly hair:

Apparently Gaïana has 4c-4b hair, which is tightly coiled zigzag curls and tiny spiral curls:

There are care tips listed for each curl type, too, and I took special note of those.  Basically, moisture is critical for 4a and 4b hair.

The other side of the box has some information about the Healthy Roots concept, and a graphic rendering of the dolls:

"Curlfriends" is cute.
Here's a closer look at the concept blurb; it describes how taking care of these dolls' hair is meant to help girls learn how to take care of--and be proud of--their own beautiful curls:

I'm intrigued by the fact that there are four girls in the picture, though, and only three dolls on the market.  Who is Dara?  I can't wait to see the doll made from her character:

Especially if she's wearing that dress.
The back of the box has some information about Gaïana and a few ads for other Healthy Roots products:

Gaïana is an island girl who loves music and the ocean:

There are several cute outfit sets and hair care accessories that are also available on the Healthy Roots website:

I didn't purchase any of the extra outfits or accessories, but I like this multi-piece doctor ensemble for $18.99:

And this Flower Girl outfit is also cute for $16.99:

Incidentally, one of the reasons that I didn't purchase Zoe is that I'm not wild about her babyish outfit...except for the yellow shoes.  I love the shoes:

And I appreciate how a lot of the outfits that are sold separately are made to pair well with those awesome yellow shoes.  That's good thinking.

Anyway, Gaïana comes mounted on a plain white cardboard backdrop that slides out of the main box:

She has a sweet face that made a great first impression:

That face is why I went back and bought Marisol.
And she comes with a lovely little shell necklace that looks like it could be used as a bracelet for a child, too:

Gaïana is held against the backdrop with bendable wires around her legs:

And a larger wire around her neck:

The neck wire has a protective plastic tube around it, but at this point I could already see that it had left some marks on Gaïana's neck.

Irritatingly, there was also a tiny little plastic tie holding the back of Gaïana's skirt in place.  I didn't even see this at first, and so I almost ripped a hole in the delicate fabric of the skirt:

Here's Gaïana free from all of her restraints:

She stands on her own, but not very well.  Her legs angle inward, and so it's hard for her to keep both feet flat on the ground.

She has a really gorgeous face, though:

Her eyes are a little wide-set, but I find that endearing.  She has a nice balance of realistic and doll-like features.

Unfortunately, the packaging (or some other part of the manufacturing process) did a number on the vinyl of her neck and chin.

In this next picture you can see a big scuff underneath her chin, a line of scuffing along her jaw, and some marks around her neck:

Here's another view of the big scuff on her chin:

This kind of damage is really frustrating on an $80 doll.  I might try to sand it down at some point, the way I do with My Twinn dolls, but that's a risky venture.  If the vinyl is low quality, the sanding will just make things worse.

Here's Gaïana from the back:

Her hair is a little shorter than Zoe's, I think, but it looks really nice right out of the box:

Some people assumed that these dolls were made with real human hair, and I can totally see why; the texture looks very realistic.

You can see a little snag on the back of the skirt where that pesky plastic tie was positioned:

Here's Gaïana in profile:

Her body looks small compared to her head from this perspective, but I like the shape of her face in profile, with its full lips and cute nose:

With her hair clipped to the side, you can see the shape of her ear, too:

Gaïana is wearing a yellow button-down tank top and a blue skirt.  The panel of buttons on my doll's shirt is off-center:

The skirt has a wraparound style with a slit in front that makes it easier for Gaïana to move her legs:

And I really love her colorful braided sandals:

I took all of the clothing off for a closer look.

The buttons on the front of the tank top are decorative and do not function.  Instead, the tank opens in the back with velcro:

The buttons look convincing, though, and all of the stitching is tidy and secure:

I just really wish those buttons were centered.
Here's the inside of the shirt:

The skirt is made out of a chiffon-type fabric that is lightweight and drapey, with a large satin bow accent at the waist:

You can see from looking at the inside of the skirt that it's made from two layers of fabric that were carefully sewn together and then inverted.  This means that there are no seams visible on the inside--except at the waistband:

And the waistband is elasticized for easy dressing and undressing:

The shoes are made out of imitation leather and they have velcro straps accented with decorative metal buckles:

I love the pastel rainbow braids!

The soles of the shoes are made out of brown foam.  This makes the entire shoe lightweight and a little flexible:

Which doesn't help with Gaïana's balance.
Underneath her clothing, Gaïana sports a pair of plain white underwear...and a familiar-looking body:

Getting strong Journey Girl vibes here...

When I first undressed Gaïana, I was surprised to see that she has a fabric lower torso.  For some reason I'd assumed that she had an all-vinyl body:

I tied her hair back out of the way so that we could get a better look at her face and her body:

Since this is a hair play doll, it's worth noting that her hair pulls back nicely into a short ponytail.  There were no flyaways or loose strands:

There are so many things I love about Gaïana's face, but you can see that her inset eyes are slightly askew, and they look a little faded too:

Sometimes my photos can make eyes look lighter than they actually are, but in this case Gaïana's eyes are light brown...with a purplish cast that I often see in dolls whose eyes are going to change color over time.  This is a huge drag.  I'm not wild about the eyelash size and placement, either:

Other than the scuffs on my particular doll's face, these eyes are the only things that I really don't like about Gaïana.  I don't think they do her justice.

After I was finished taking photos for this review, I removed Gaïana's eyes.  They popped out pretty easily after I gently heated the head.  The eyes look to be 18mm in size and they're oval-shaped.  However, my 18mm oval glass eyes don't work as replacements because the iris size is too small.  Fortunately, I was able to put the original eyes back in with no trouble.  Interestingly, the eyelashes are glued to the eyes themselves, not the eyelid, and so they came off when I removed the eyes...and went back on when I replaced the eyes--with no damage from the heat.  I'm pretty bummed that there's no good eye replacement option, though.  Gaïana with glass eyes would be amazing.

Fortunately, there are a lot of things that I really love about Gaïana's face!  For example, her thick, detailed eyebrows are great:

And I love her two-toned lips:

There's a tiny bit of peach color peeking out above the plum upper lip, but this is hard to see in real life.

The back of Gaïana's head is marked with the Healthy Roots logo:

Gaïana's body has only five points of articulation, but good head movement and a cloth torso make her feel more flexible than an all-vinyl doll.

She can look from side to side:

And she can also tip her head back and forth:

And lift it up and down:

So she can glance to the side with her head slightly tipped, which I think looks nice:

Her shoulders are mostly only capable of rotation...

but they do have a little bit of up and down movement:

Flap, flap.
So when her arms are lifted above her head, they can angle away from her body a bit for a more natural pose:

The fabric part of Gaïana's body is made out of a sturdy-feeling canvas that matches the vinyl parts of her body adequately.  There's a slim white tag on her left side:

She's made in China from all new materials:

Similar to the shoulder joints, Gaïana's hips have a little bit of side-to-side movement:

The rotational capabilities of the hips allow Gaïana to sit on the ground with her legs apart:

And to do very nice front-to-back splits:

Gaïana can pose quite well for an 18-inch doll, but her balance is poor, and so I couldn't photograph her in too many interesting positions.

Since I haven't reviewed any 18-inch dolls for a while, I wasn't exactly sure who I should use for Gaïana's comparison photos.  As a result, there will be a few dolls shown here that I have never (and may never) actually review on the blog.

The first doll I wanted to compare to Gaïana is a Journey Girl, since she reminds me most of that brand.

Here she is next to Journey Girl Alana, who I bought on sale a while ago:

Journey Girl doll (left) and Healthy Roots doll (right).
You can see right away that these two dolls have the exact same body design:

Not only do they both have the same torso configuration, but their vinyl parts are identical in shape:

Right down to their toes:

It's strange to me that companies can do this (the bodies must not be copyrighted), but it's nice because Journey Girls and Healthy Roots dolls can share clothing perfectly.

And I think Gaïana looks great in Alana's colorful outfit!

Healthy Roots Gaïana wearing a Journey Girl outfit.
One concern is that because Journey Girls are notorious for their broken limbs (which can be very hard to fix), the Healthy Roots dolls might also be fragile in this respect.  I have not had any trouble with Gaïana so far, but I'm probably more gentle in my handling than a young child would be.

I was also curious to compare Gaïana to the 18-inch ily 4EVER dolls, which I have never reviewed.  I may host a guest review for that brand at some point in the future, but in the meantime I only have a review of the 11-inch ily fashion dolls.

Fortunately, I own the Belle-inspired doll from that line, and can do a quick comparison with her:

I bought this doll because I really like her outfit, and her face is adorable with those big inset eyes:

The ily 4EVER dolls have all-fabric torsos, and they're just a bit shorter than Gaïana:

Ily 4EVER Belle doll (left) and Healthy Roots Gaïana doll (right).
Despite the difference in their body construction, these two dolls have similar proportions.  Belle's limbs are a bit thicker and her neck is a bit thinner, but they're close enough to share clothing quite well.

Here's Belle (with her hair taken down) wearing Gaïana's outfit:

The shoes don't fit.
As an aside, Belle's hair does not come down very gracefully.  There's no rooted part, and so the scalp is really visible when the hair is in any style except a plain ponytail:

That's not a good design choice for a play doll.

The really delightful surprise here was how great Gaïana looks in Belle's outfit! 

Those pops of red against her dark skin and hair look fabulous:

I liked this look so much that I purchased another ily 4EVER clothing set for Gaïana to try on:

This also a Belle-inspired ensemble, and it looks even better on Gaïana than the first outfit!

I especially like the white, peasant-style blouse on her:

This next comparison is not super-helpful, but since I still have her sitting around waiting for new face paint, here's my I'm a Girly doll, Kayla, next to Gaïana:

I'm a Girly doll (left) and Healthy Roots doll (right).
Kayla has an all-vinyl body with no fabric in her torso.  She also has thicker limbs and a narrower torso than Gaïana.

Still, Gaïana can wear Kayla's cute track suit:

The shoes are way too big for her, but they disguise the fact that the sweat pants are really short:

Of course the big question is how Gaïana compares to an American Girl doll.  For that, I've brought in the Girl of the Year from 2022, Corinne Tan.  I was excited to buy Corinne because she was the first Chinese-American Girl of the Year.

As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that I've heard very little buzz about the 2023 Girl of the Year, Kavi Sharma, who is the first Indian-American Girl of the Year!  She's really cute and she lives in New Jersey, too, so I'll probably have to buy her at some point.  Anyway, it's been a good couple of years for Mattel in terms of inclusivity.

Here's Gaïana with Corinne:

American Girl doll (left) and Healthy Roots doll (right).
Gaïana is slimmer overall than Corinne (but with a much bigger head!) and it's pretty clear right off the bat that shoe-sharing is not going to be a thing.  But the two have proportions that are similar enough that I wanted to try some clothes-swapping.

Because Gaïana is the more slender of the two, it's no surprise that she can wear Corinne's outfit:

It's a little baggy in places, but overall it looks fine.

Corinne can also wear Gaïana's clothing, although the fit of the skirt is tight:

And AG dolls look bad in tank tops.
Overall, I wouldn't count on Healthy Roots clothing to fit American Girl dolls, but there are clearly some pieces that will work.

Because I will probably never get around to writing a full review of Corinne, I'll take a minute here to give a few basic thoughts.

First of all, I'm not very excited about her outfit--especially the white sweater.  You can see in this first picture that it's partially see-through.  Who wants to wear a sweater this thin in Aspen, Colorado?

Corinne's factory hairstyle is also a little odd.  I like the color, with the bright blue highlights:

But she has braids on either side of her face that are pulled back behind her head, and because she also has a side part, the braids start at very different levels, making the whole style look weirdly lopsided:

I like Corinne better when her hair is down:

Although it took a while for my doll's hair to lay flat!

That's cool in its own way, though.
Anyway, I like Corinne's face, with those thick eyebrows and pretty eyes, and Gwynn and I are happy to have her in the house:

I just wish she had a different outfit.
There are a lot of good clothes-sharing options for Gaïana, apparently, but it's also possible to buy custom-made clothing for these dolls.  I was especially excited to find a beautiful Healthy Roots outfit in one of my favorite Etsy shops, Doll Traveller.

The owner of this shop, Stacey, is a delight.  She makes clothing for an eclectic range of dolls, and every time I get something from her, I feel like it's my birthday.  Look at the gorgeous packaging:

The outfit I chose for Gaïana is a two-piece pant and shirt set with a wonderfully colorful geometric print:

The details are so immaculate on these items, including a dainty little tag accompanied by a metal "handmade" charm:

The top is made out of a complimentary gold cotton print, with a ruffle of the more colorful fabric:

There are a lot of hand-stitched details that can be appreciated when you open this top up and peek inside. I love the neat row of gold stitches that surround the muslin lining:

Here's closer look:

Gaïana's factory outfit is fine, but this outfit makes her come alive:

She looks like an expensive art doll when she's dressed like this...except that her eyes ruin the effect:

I added in the beautiful shell necklace, which looks like it was made to go with this outfit:

I reluctantly put Gaïana back into her original clothing for a few portraits:

Despite her inability to balance in a lot of poses, this girl has a ton of personality.

Her wide eyes, beautiful face mold, and realistic hair make her such an original.

And I like how her body construction allows her to wear summery clothing without much of the fabric torso showing.

She's a real sweetheart...but I wish I could swap out those eyes.

I was so nervous about styling Gaïana's hair, but since that's a big part of the brand's purpose, I knew I had to give it a try.

I watched several YouTube videos about styling 4b/4c hair, and while there's some conflicting information out there, I settled on purchasing some Shea Moisture detangling conditioner and a wide tooth comb:

The videos suggested wetting the hair, spraying it with conditioner, and then using the comb gently on small sections of hair at a time, always starting from the ends and working towards the scalp.

I did this, and managed to comb through all of Gaïana's hair:

I tried to be really careful but there was a ton of breakage.  Poor Gaïana lost a lot of hair:

And that's not even half of it.
But the hair still looks and feels nice and full so the hair loss wasn't a tragedy:

I went through the hair again, using even more conditioner, and this time I separated it into four sections, each of which I twisted:

This didn't look quite as cute as I'd hoped, maybe because there isn't enough hair to support four twists.

So I tried again with only two twists, and this looked better:

But I somehow managed to get the sections of hair uneven so that the right twist is much smaller than the left:

I added more conditioner and put the hair into two simple ponytails.  I think this looks really cute:

And then I added more conditioner and went back to try the twisted ponytails again.  I got the sections of hair more even this time, and was pleased with the result:

One frustration I had was that it's hard to pull the hair tightly against Gaïana's scalp, so I couldn't get the hair in that area to look as sleek and neat as I wanted.

But overall, I was impressed.  I was combing and conditioning and pulling and twisting this hair for an hour or two, and I was still able to get it to go back and look pretty much how it looked at the start:

And despite using a ton of conditioner, there's no residue or greasiness in the hair.  I assumed that I would wash all of the product out when I was done, but I actually think I'll leave Gaïana this way.  As an added bonus, her hair smells like coconuts now!

I was so pleased with Gaïana, I wanted to get a peek at Marisol, too.  So, as promised, I'll show you a few pictures of her now.

Marisol also came packaged in a blue window box:

Marisol has a different hair type, though.  She's a 3b-3c, which has loose, bouncy curls and strands with a wavy texture:

Marisol is described as loving everything about the Earth.  Not only does she have a knack for gardening, but I'll bet she's the type who would never kill a spider:

I love Marisol's personality, but the doll herself is not as appealing to me as Gaïana:

Her hair definitely looks like it has a different texture form Gaïana's, and I like the color.  It's like a rich dark brown with sun-bleached highlights.  Perfect for a girl who spends all of her time outside:

But Marisol's face mold doesn't appeal to me as much as Gaïana's:

She has pretty hazel eyes that don't look like they're fading, but her eyes are just a bit too wide, and those eyelashes are crazy-long.  She looks startled...or caffeinated.

I don't like her mouth quite as much, either.  I don't know if this is just because it's all painted the same bright coral color, or if I just don't like the shape as much as I like the shape of Gaïana's mouth.

I will say, however, that it's neat that the two dolls have different face molds.  I assume Zoe's face is different, too, but I can't confirm that.

I really like Marisol's outfit--especially her blouse:

The whole ensemble has even more detail than Gaïana's outfit.

One small problem is that the cuff on the left leg of the shorts won't roll up neatly:

But the blouse is wonderful.  It's made out of a soft knit and has beautifully-gathered sleeves, a gathered square neckline, and a shirred area above the waist to match:

The construction looks excellent:

The pink denim shorts have a lot of detail, too, like a velcro fly, working front and back pockets, and a stitched waistband:

The shorts are also lined:

Marisol's shoes are not as impressive as Gaïana's (or Zoe's), but they're fine:

The straps open and close with velcro, but there's a decorative metal buckle that looks nice:

Marisol's accessory is a woven basket of flowers:

Both the basket and the flowers are made out of plastic:

I don't like this accessory as much as Gaïana's shell necklace, but Marisol seems to enjoy the flowers:

I'd say that Marisol is a very nice doll, and her outfit is great, but overall she doesn't grab me the same way Gaïana does.

I gave Marisol a chance to wear the Doll Traveller outfit, and it really suits her:

I think these colors compliment her skin tone better than the pink shorts.

I'm tempted to play around with those long curls, but that'll be a project for another day.

Gaïana was frustrated with her own lopsided yellow tank top, so while Marisol was wearing the Doll Traveller outfit, I let Gaïana try out the white shirred blouse...and the flowers:

I like this combination on her better than I like her original clothes:

But she pretty much looks good no matter what:

For Gaïana's outdoor photo shoot, I decided to take her to a nearby stretch of the New Jersey shore.  This seemed like an appropriate setting for a girl who loves the ocean, and besides, my husband and I were missing the beaches of St. John.

Gaïana really doesn't balance well in the sand, so I had to find rocks and other objects to give her some support.

Sitting down works well for her, too, although that skirt could be a bit more modest...

We finally found a nice group of large rocks that worked well to support Gaïana.  They also reminded me of the rocky coast of Maine:

The big waves in the background made me a little nervous, but Gaïana felt right at home!

I wanted to take most of Gaïana's outdoor pictures while she was wearingly her wonderful outfit from Doll Traveller, so I brought that outfit along with me in a separate bag.  Unfortunately, while Gaïana and I were exploring on the rocks, those big waves came in and washed my bag away!

I was able to rescue the bag, but everything was saturated with salt water.

For a few moments I considered bailing on the wardrobe change, but Gaïana said she didn't mind a little bit of salt, and so I got her dressed in the soaking wet outfit!

After a few minutes of drying in the warm sand, Gaïana was ready for more exploration!  And for anyone who is wondering, after some gentle washing at home, both Gaïana and her outfit recovered from their salt water exposure with no damage whatsoever.

I think Gaïana looks luminous in the sun...except for those eyes.  They are such a bummer.

The tide was coming in so our group of rocks was getting more and more precarious.  Gaïana would have risked getting wet again, but I suggested we move on.

  She spotted this old piling and wanted to check it out:

This turned out to be a good place to stand and watch the birds...and also to get out of the wind!

But after standing around for a while, Gaïana was ready for a new adventure!

She climbed all over the pilings and dock remnants, although for a girl with fragile balance, I have no idea how she managed to reach the top of this board without falling!

She said it was hard, but the view at the top was totally worth it:

Bottom line?  I'm really glad I waited a year before finally buying a Healthy Roots doll, because if I hadn't, I never would have met Gaïana.  I haven't seen the original doll, Zoe, out of her box, but between Marisol and Gaïana, Gaïana is my favorite.

Gaïana's body is essentially that of a Journey Girl, so there's not much to say about it that I haven't said before.  The articulation is decent for an 18-inch play doll, with good head flexibility and a bit of side-to-side movement in both the shoulders and the hips.  I like the combination of a fabric belly and a vinyl neck because the body feels a little bit cuddly, but also looks good in clothing with low necklines or strap sleeves.  I know that there have been a lot of issues with Journey Girl limbs breaking (I had this experience myself) and so it'll be interesting to see if the Healthy Roots dolls suffer a similar fate.  That would be pretty unacceptable for an $80 doll.  But one good thing about having the Journey Girl body is that Gaïana can share clothes with that line.  She can also share clothes with other popular 18-inch dolls, especially the ily 4EVER girls.

The clothing that comes with the Healthy Roots dolls is good overall, with some pieces that stand out more than others.  For example, the yellow tank top that comes with Gaïana is well-constructed for the most part, but the buttons are really off-center.  Marisol's pink shorts are also very detailed (and even fully-lined) but there's a glitch in the construction of one cuff.  Gaïana's blue skirt is well-made, attractive, and easy to use, I just wish it hadn't been plastic-tied to the box.  Marisol's white blouse is probably my favorite piece.  It looks and feels great, is very flattering, and is of nicer quality than most of the clothing in lines like Journey Girl and ily 4EVER.

The things that make Gaïana really special are her rich skin tone, her face mold, and her hair.  Not all of my photographs capture Gaïana's coloring faithfully, but her vinyl is a beautiful dark shade similar to Bratz Felicia, Rainbow High's Krystal Bailey, or a Denver 07 My Twinn.  I think Gaïana has a captivating face, too.  She looks happy and engaged, but there's also a calm serenity in her features.  I like how her eyebrows and lips are painted; her lips, in particular are striking, with shades of natural plum and peach.  She achieves a comfortable balance between being realistic and looking like a doll.  Her hair is one of her more realistic features, and it's also easy to take care of and looks good in a variety of styles.  If it weren't for Gaïana's acrylic, fade-prone eyes and strange eyelashes, she could almost pass for an art doll.

The last thing I want to say is that I love the intention behind this doll line.  I'm not a person who has ever struggled with brushing or styling 4b or 4c curly hair, but I've heard and read about the problems and stigma that this type of hair can carry.  I think it's awesome to have a doll with such beautiful, realistic hair.  For me, Gaïana allowed a hair play experience that was fun, educational, and rewarding, and I assume that this type of experience would be empowering and validating for children who share Gaïana's hair type.  Also, regardless of the hair's texture, it's really fun to have a doll with hair that can be so aggressively treated and styled.  I never thought I would spray so much conditioner into a wigged doll's hair without stressing about it!  I was alarmed by how much Gaïana's hair shed and broke at first, but as my combing technique got better, the shedding and breakage lessened.  And, despite several hours of hair play, lots of tugging and twisting, and even some time in the sand and salt water, Gaïana's hair came out looking (and smelling) great.  

Gaïana is a beautiful doll, but even if she wasn't, her hair would be noteworthy in and of itself.  I've had a lot of trials and tribulations with curly doll hair over the years.  Those experiences have taught me to interact minimally with doll curls; I either finger-comb them, or I leave them alone.  But there's not a lot of fun in that approach.  I'm delighted to have found a doll with curly hair that was designed to be brushed and played with.  For me, that's revolutionary.


  1. Have you scoured Etsy for potential replacement eyes? I see plenty of 18mm oval eyes with varying iris sizes - it might be worth sifting through them all for a suitable pair, since you're so clearly smitten with this doll! :D

  2. MnGrl here, in my nice warm house awaiting the blizzard….a couple of quick thoughts…Gaiana is a lovely doll. I actually like the torso with upper body plastic. The drawstring necks on the AG dolls is sooooo unflattering. That white blouse is going to be a staple in your 18” doll wardrobe; that style looks good in pretty much all dolls, and all the elastic makes for good fit as well. Now speaking of blouses…that off-center row of buttons in the yellow top MAKES ME CRAZY!
    Her hair is great—having done some re-rooting, I kind of expect some hairs to come out with initial brushing. I think this would be a great way for kids to learn about hair care if parents aren’t crazy about them practicing on their younger siblings!
    Okay…one more thing. I understand that the crimpy hair that black and other women with that texture is a big deal. As a white woman, I want to be sensitive and respectful that, and feel that for me, it is a little invasive to be playing with the hair of another culture. I know I’m probably waaaayyyy overthinking this as I am wont to do, but I just love the array of skin colors and hair varieties available now.
    Oh…and my last one more thing…I love that these girls have some nice healthy interests in their bios besides the typical fashion/makeup/slumber parties. Now I’ll go back to watch the weather forecast. We Minnesotan’s thrive on this stuff!

  3. While this isn't a self image struggle I have ever had, I've had enough friends to know how much this will mean to a lot of little kids, to have a doll like them.

    It's such a pity about the scratches and the eyes, because everything wise is absolutely top notch! I'm blown away by that hair, it's straight up amazing. And the face sculpt on Gaiana is so personable

  4. Hooray, a curly hair experience without any disasters! It's actually really cool how these dolls are designed to be instructive and functional with their hair type, rather than being manufactured with it for a visual effect that you're not meant to mess with.

  5. The concept of this doll line is great! I love how many possibilities for (educational) hair play these dolls offer. I also have to agree that Gaïana's face mold is beautiful. 18-inch dolls are not my area of expertise, but she has to be one of the prettiest 18-inch dolls I've ever seen! It's a real shame about the eyes though. The natural light of the outdoor photoshoot especially showcased how faded they already are. I hope you manage to find good replacements in the future. Also, that outfit from the Doll Traveller is exquisite. My own clothing isn't even that nicely made, hahaha!

  6. Dang, you bought all these 18" dolls and were hiding them. XD I'm glad you reviewed this brand because Zoe has such an appealing face, but her outfit seemed kind of cheap to me, and her price tag is so high. I also hope that guest reviewer moves faster than me, because there's an ILY doll I've been curious about. (And also that exact outfit, so I might interrogate you about it - those looked a bit cheap from their promotional photos as well.) Gaiana's facemold and Marisol's look the same to me, though. I'd love to see them side-by-side. (Shame about Gaiana's eyes, though. I'm A Girly all over again.)

    Also, Corinne's see-through sweater is one of the reasons I've never seriously considered buying her. Once again, the price tag is so steep that I need both the doll AND the outfit to be great, and it was obvious from the promo pics that the sweater was see-through. Ditto several of her outfits: her coat doesn't close, her scarf is criminally short, she's going hiking in, essentially, flip-flops... Just doesn't seem like particularly smart designs. But she sure does have a pretty face. XD

  7. She needs new eyes so bad! Wow! Gaiana is so gorgeous she deserves better! Totally impressed by the hair too. I never liked the journey girl bodies. I think this head could maybe look good on a 23 inch my twinn body since it’s so big!

  8. Ohhh, thank you so so much for this post, Emily. I‘m watching them since forever and really fell for Zoe, but sadly the brand isn‘t planing on international shipping (even we have lots of curl power girls here in Europe, too). And yes, I was so happy when I saw that you took a closer look at two of the girls. And they are really charming even the body looks a bit weird to me, haha.

    Can‘t wait to see what you will do with the eyes 🥰

  9. Wow, gorgeous dolls! Marisol is pretty but Gaiana stole the show. The ILY forever clothes really suit her well. I do see what you mean about her eyes, she would be stunning with glass eyes. 18 inch dolls aren't my thing personally but I always enjoy seeing them in others' collections because they have such lovely clothes and accessories.

  10. Does she kinda look like Cameron Diaz to anyone else? Just me? Lol. What a beautiful doll line though! I love their hair.

  11. I love the ILY 18 inch line!! They are so cute, and the face mold of Belle/Elsa is my favorite. So glad to see you picked one up!

    I love the realistic hair on Gaiana and Marisol. Super cute girls. -Micah Tithe

  12. What a wonderfully detailed review!