It's tough! Let me tell you, I should know. I went on a big ol' search last year and researched this thing with the same thoroughness that I used when researching my first stroller purchase.
The thing with brown-skinned dolls is that
#1. The blonde doll in the manufacturer's line always gets the best dress. The pink dress. The chiffon dress. The red-haired doll or brown-haired doll with light skin gets the 2nd best dress. After that the dolls are usually in something "sporty" or "trendy". So it's really hard to find a brown-skinned doll that has on an awesome DRESS.
#2. I have found several beautiful brown-skinned dolls but they are too often in traditional-culture clothing. A Native American dress. A Mexican dress. A sari. You get the idea. When you have an American daughter, you'd like to find a doll dressed in the sort of dress she'd love to own herself.
#3. You just want the doll to look pretty. Why give a girl a doll that honestly just doesn't look pretty or have a sweet face? (In this area I will say Barbie does a great job of producing lots of beautiful brown-skinned dolls.)
So I want to share with you some of my finds in case you would like to give a girl in your life a lovely brown-skinned doll. It's important for light-skinned girls to have beautiful brown-skinned dolls too. I remember when my grandmother gave me a Hawaiian-looking Barbie in a swimsuit when I was 11. I loved her long black hair that went down to her feet. She was my favorite doll.
On with the show:
1. Corolle, Les Cheries- This manufacturer does an amazing job of creating beautiful dolls with the prettiest little faces and always adorable outfits. The dolls smell good too with a hint of vanilla.
2. Maru and Friends- These are not the clothes that come on the dolls when you buy them. These seem to be a special line of clothes available for purchase. Typically all the dolls have on cute "school clothes". All of these dolls have lovely faces and hair. Maru (the one in the middle) is the main doll in the line-up and is marketed as a Latina girl. It is very rare to see doll marketing with the brown-haired "ethnic" dolls wearing the beautiful pink dresses.
3. Hearts4Hearts Girls- Ok, I am picking Hearts 4 Hearts Girls only because their dolls are gorgeous. All of them. However, they still annoy me because ALL of the brown skinned dolls hail from other countries and have on traditional clothing (Mexico, Ethiopia, Laos-well except her, India) and of course the only dolls that hail from the good ol' USofA are two light-skinned light-hair dolls. This is ANNOYING. There is this incredibly ignorant mentality that brown-skinned people aren't really "from here". Or if they are "from here" then "they just got here". Ugh. Whatev. Here are the beautiful dolls.
From India. Super adorable with a little nose-ring and henna on her hand.
From EthiopiaSorry for the sub-par picture quality. The copied image was pretty tiny.
5. Barbie- no matter what you can always find a super-pretty and affordable brown-skinned Barbie doll.
Barbie Hair-tastic Cut and Style- so fun!
Barbie Collector Holiday 2012- BEAUTIFUL dress!
Barbie Dolls of the World India- Yes, it's hard to get away from traditional clothing with brown-skinned dolls, but wow such a gorgeous doll. (And, BTW if you would like your daughter to have a light-skinned doll that has on a traditional outfit, which can be hard to find, the Dolls of the World line has several cute options.)
Another lovely Dolls of the World- Mexico- oh dear she has a chiuaua ha!
I must say as I was looking at dolls I became even more impressed with Barbie's options. They have a Barbie So In Style (S.I.S) Little Sister line that has adorable dolls that look like little girls. (The first doll pictured in this post.)
Now, what about light-skinned black girls with curly hair?? How do you find a doll like that? Well friends, it's quite difficult. The only light-skinned doll I saw that had kinky-curly hair was this cloth doll of Fancy Nancy's best friend Bree. (You know the stories right?)
So what's a mom to do? A mom who wants to find a beautiful doll that has those similar beautiful features that God so lovingly gave to her daughter?
In this case, the best thing is to get creative, because the only curly-kinky haired dolls I saw also had the deeper brown skin. Fortunately there are some smart moms out there who have already figured this out.
In this tutorial you will learn how to give your straight-haired doll beautiful curly-textured hair!
Pretty cool huh? So obviously in this case you'd buy a light-skinned doll with black hair and curl the hair yourself.
I hope this helps those of you shopping for a special girl in your life!
Linked to WFMW