Dolls With New 'Dos: Barbie (Finally) Gets a Natural Hair Update

Since Mattel introduced its first black Barbie in the late 1960s (nearly a decade after launching its original doll), the toymaker has given the dolls straight hair — a far cry from the kink and curl that most young African-American girls actually have. Now, online custom dollmaker, Natural Girls United, is giving Barbie a natural makeover, taking existing dolls and giving them afros, braids and bandu knots in order to better reflect what many girls see in the mirror. “I see people walking around with gorgeous hairstyles that inspire me,” company founder and doll designer Karen Byrd tells Yahoo Shine. And consumers are rejoicing in her efforts to fill the market gap. "These are beautiful dolls that feature us and our lovely hair styles," one commenter posted to the Natural Girls United's Facebook page. Another tweeted: “It always tickles me to see #NaturalHair dolls! Diversity at its finest.” But while a fresh off of the assembly line Barbie usually sells for around $9.99, Byrd's custom creations cost anywhere from $40 to $140. Still worth it? Maybe. Check out some of the Barbies that Byrd has made over with new, natural looks. Mattel: Take a hint. — Lauren Tuck, Shine Staff