Is it time for Barbie & Co to undergo a ‘make-under’?


    One mother thinks so, as she creates her own ‘natural looking’ children’s dolls to combat current beauty standards

    With their incredibly high heels, oversized eyes and unrealistic body shapes, mum of two Emma Cayley started to become increasingly worried about the dolls her daughter was playing with. Believing that they promoted unrealistic standards of female beauty, 18 months ago she decided to upcycle pre-loved toys bought from charity shops and car-boot sales to create a range of natural-looking children’s dolls.

    “I felt they promoted an unhealthy body image. Not only this, but many of the dolls are dressed in overtly sexualised ways with vertiginous heels, short skirts and crop tops, and are heavily made up. In particular, the Bratz dolls have very large and prominent mouths and enormous eyes,” she told the Exeter Express & Echo.

    Instead, Emma’s Devon Rescue Dolls are repainted to offer a child’s doll with more realistic eyebrows, eyes, mouths – even freckly faces and glasses. “I also specialise in making custom dolls that look like their owners,” she adds, “and have made dolls with particular features such as birthmarks, cleft palate scars and alopecia.”

    A popular Bratz doll before and after her 'make-under' by Emma
    A popular Bratz doll before and after her ‘make-under’ by Emma

    Ranging between £20-£30, the dolls come beautifully packaged in a box complete with a glossy before-and-after photo, and goodies such as spare shoes, adorable hand-sewn outfits and hairbrushes. Parents can buy online at

    Do you agree that our children’s dolls are promoting unrealistic standards of female beauty to our little ones? Tweet us @_Little_London and tell us what you think.