Large vinyl 18 inch/46cm soft-bodied dolls are very popular with children. They are easier to dress than smaller 11.5 inch-Barbie style dolls and have more hair which is easier to brush and style. As a parent, I much prefer their more realistic proportions, and the fact that they tend to portray children as opposed to adults. I think that my daughter prefers this too because it means they’re more like her!
There are lots of different 18 inch dolls on the market, and these range from fairly cheap to very expensive heirloom dolls.
We have a small collection of 18 inch vinyl soft-bodied dolls ranging from mid-range (around £30) to more expensive (around £100). I do think you can usually tell the better quality dolls particularly from their hair, and also how easily they can be posed, how heavy they are (some feel more hollow than others), whether their eyes close when they are laid down, as well as the quality of the clothes/accessories that they come with.
All of the dolls my daughter owns have slightly different builds and features, but she loves them all and plays with them often.
The DesignaFriend range of 18 inch fashion dolls are exclusive to Argos.
The soft-bodied hard-limbed dolls are really budget-friendly, starting at just £20 for one full-priced doll complete with outfit, so perfect for children who may not be ready to take care of an expensive doll (which is basically all children) and brush its hair regularly.
We were sent Brooke, a blonde-haired DesignaFriend fashion doll, to review.
She is one of the more expensive dolls in the DesignaFriend range, but still affordable, with an RRP of £24.99.
Brooke arrives packaged in an DesignaFriend pink and grey boutique-style box with DF initialled tissue paper, making her an excellent (and easy to wrap!) gift that looks from the outside more expensive than you might think.
She has an entirely soft body and hard vinyl limbs that can be posed standing or sitting. Her head can be twisted although it is perhaps a little stiff.
Brooke comes dressed in a red chiffon layered top, black leggings and sparkly silver pumps on her feet which slip on and off easily. The clothes are easy to remove with velcro on the top and stretchy leggings.
In terms of accessories, she also comes with a hair slide with a red rose on it, and a cute little black handbag with silver chain which you can actually open and close.
DesignaFriend doll Brooke has soft, shiny hair nylon hair that goes down to her bottom.
It is densely rooted across the entire head, possibly not as densely rooted as £100+ dolls I’ve seen but there is good coverage and it’s very easy to brush. Her hair has a very slight wave, and is cut with a fringe.
She has a pretty face and big, sparkling blue eyes with long, curled eyelashes. Her eyes are fixed and they don’t close when the doll is lying down.
Brooke, like all DesignaFriend dolls, comes with a silver heart-shaped DF charm bracelet as a lovely extra gift for your child.
How does Brooke the DesignaFriend Doll compare to other 18 inch dolls?
Brooke is a little slimmer and with less toddler-like proportions than the other 18 inch dolls we have. Her face and outfit gives her a slightly ‘older’ look and reflects more recent fashion too; although the clothes are interchangeable and she can be dressed in any of our other 18 inch doll outfits.
Being very picky for a second, her limbs are slightly less solid; if you give them a good squeeze there is a little bit of give that isn’t there in the more expensive dolls.
The hair is very easy to brush and style. Although Brooke’s hair is noticeably cheaper and less ‘realistic’ than the most expensive doll we own, it is very similar to the cheaper dolls, which still cost £10-20 more than a DesignaFriend doll.
All in all though, DesignaFriend Brooke is a brilliant doll.
Considering the price particularly, she is an excellent buy. She has a friendly face and her clothes are great, the bag and the shoes are really funky and the rest of the range looks fab; I can see a lot of DesignaFriend outfits in Brooke’s future.
She would make a brilliant Christmas present for a doll lover as young as three, and my daughter will absolutely love her!
Brooke the DesignaFriend doll can be bought from Argos in store or online and has an RRP of £24.99.
We were sent this doll for free for the purposes of this review, however I have retained full editorial control and all pictures and words are mine.