How to tell if a doll is yellowing?

May 27, 2020

    1. So basically, I have an 8 year old doll who hasn’t been outside and basically lives in his box. I would like to upgrade his body one day to one with more pose-able legs. I’ve tried comparing him to pictures on the screen and didn’t see too much of a difference, anyways just wondering if anyone else has been in a situation like this and what did you do?
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    2. I've found the best way to tell if a doll is yellowing is to have the doll under really bright, white lighting against a white backdrop. The white will help you see the undertones. Yellowing won't look like the doll is turning a warm glowy yellow, it'll be turning more into a greenish, kind of glass/plastic-like appearance. I was able to tell my doll's hands were super yellow because they looked so different from the rest of his body and his face, which had been protected by MSC.

      It is possible that your doll may not have yellowed much to where it's that noticeable though, depending on how you had stored him or the resin's formula! You may have gotten lucky, or the doll has only "mellowed" slightly over time.
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    3. To be honest the most effective and impractical way is to compare it to a new doll from the same company in the same skintone. But even that isn't a 100% certainty since not every resin batch is exactly the same.

      I can easily tell that some of my older dolls have mellowed out because I have handled them so much and started to notice subtle changes in the tone. Even dolls that are kept in the dark in their box in a stable temperature will yellow over time. You can't stop the process. Resin matching amonst the same company usually isn't too bad, nothing a little blushing won't fix.

      Perhaps you could mail the company and ask for a resin sample from their latest batch to compare to your own doll before ordering? Perhaps at a small cost that can be deducted if you decide to order parts afterward?
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    4. Note, this is a more invasive technique.
      You can slightly sand the doll in a usually hidden spot (bottom of feet, headcap etc) to see if there's a difference in color. The sanded area will be the original color it had when fresh out of the mold.
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    5. Without having a new doll of that color to compare it to and short of sanding away the top layer of resin, you cannot for sure find out if and how much your doll has yellowed. Pictures won't help much since resin color is notoriously hard to represent correctly in photography. The color/ temperature of light and the background change results constantly, and so does the type of your monitor.
      But you can be confident that after 8 years the color of your doll has changed, since it is impossible to stop that from happening. The way you store your doll can slow it down at most.

      Now there is not one typical color or appearance that a doll will assume when it has yellowed. Since every resin mixture is slightly different in its components, even from batch to batch with the same company, the decay of the red pigments in the resin over time will always result in its own characteristic color change. It can go all the way from a warm mellow tone to butter yellow, or even a greenish hue in some resins, though such extremes are rare.

      This is not very helpful is it? :pout: I'm sorry, but that's the nature of the beast...
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    6. I’ve found another way to tell is to put the doll in an outfit that is white. My Baha’s yellowing isn’t noticeable unless I dress her in white.
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    7. You can hold the inside of the headcap up to another part of the doll and see if there is any shift in color between them. That can show color change from the outside of the doll, vs. inside of the doll, as the inside is more protected and changes more slowly.

      But I would assume that after 8 years the doll has mellowed and settled in color naturally, even if it has been kept in a box that whole time.

      If you are trying to compare to the same company's resin, it is worth it to consider also that their resin color may have changed in those 8 years and so even if no mellowing had occurred, it might not match anyway.
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    8. For me, my dolls came with a set of hands that I never used and now I can see a distinct difference between the doll and the unused hands. Add to that the fact that my dolls came from the same company but different production years and I can see the difference in the resin. One of my dolls also has a different production year from the body. So for me, it was all comparison.
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    9. These are really good tips! Does anyone have any tips for yellowing on darker skin tones? I heard they happen but not sure what to expect... Plus, it doesn't help to compare them to white clothing or white backdrops either.
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