The American Girl Doll Salon is an activity available in all full American Girl Place locations and some temporary stores.
Salons are generally located in an open area.
The purchaser must sign up for a specific time on a sheet for any services, and told what time they will have the service done or completed. This is signed in and the doll is taken with a note of doll's name and owner's name. Dolls are stored in cubicles before (and after, if not picked up immediately) their styling or modification. There are also some example styles shown on various modern dolls. Starting in 2018, sign ins were done via computer and purchasers with active cell phones are texted.
All pickups are by either paying at the salon (which often has a small register), or showing a receipt that shows payment already made.
Modified dolls or non-American Girl dolls can have their hair styled. However, purchasers are told that they accept all responsibility and generally made to sign a disclaimer stating that they understand risks and the employees and American Girl are not obligated to repair or replace a damaged doll.
The most frequent activity available is hair styling. Hairstyles are selected from a notebook with images showing all available styles; prices range from $5 to $20, depending on how elaborate the style is. Some hairstyles, generally specialty ones, may come with an additional accessory (such as a hair flower clip or tiara) and will cost about $25.
Dolls are covered with a styling drape and strapped into salon chairs; the drape is often tied on backwards. Hair is styled using small stiff brushes, standard brushes, and water in spray bottles. Hairstyling cannot fully restore dried or damaged hair, but care is taken to attempt some degree of restoration. Styling is done where purchasers and others may see the styling done.
Hairstyles are separated by the doll's hair texture: straight or wavy, curly, short, and textured. Any doll with hair can be given a hairstyle; styles exist for all 18" dolls including retired dolls, WellieWishers, and Bitty Twins. (Bitty Baby, being essentially bald, does not have available hairstyles.)
Hairstyles for Historical Characters and BeForever characters reference their meet-styles when purchased, and are more of a restoration of the original style. Original hair decorations are not included with these restorations, but ribbons may be applied.
Girls of the Year are also given restoration style options.
WellieWishers characters each have one restoration style and one unique style.
Bitty Twin Boys are only offered the option of a restoration "all down" style.
Nearly all hairstyles (with the exception of the "All Down") are accessorized with hair ribbons; purchasers may pick two ribbon colors that are tied together into bows. More elaborate styles may have the color of elastics chosen.
Dolls are returned with a sheet explaining standard doll hair care.
Starting in 2016, water based removable nail polish was available as an add-on to any hairstyle. Polish cannot be purchased separately from a hairstyle. The polish is available in pink, purple, light blue, and turquoise.
Polish is applied to both fingers and toes, and then allowed to dry. The polish is water-based and can wipe clean off dolls with water. The rest of the bottle is given to the purchaser along with instructions on use.
The polish can stick to or stain other surfaces, and is not intended for use by people.
Cleaning and Spa Treatments
A "spa" treatment can be done to any 18" doll. This includes a robe and stickers for "cucumbers" over the eyes and stickers for nail and toe polish. Cleaning is done with baking soda to remove surface grime and grit.
Spa cleaning cannot remove deep staining or major issues; major stains must be done through the American Girl Hospital.
Ear Piercing is also available for any 18" doll and WellieWishers. They include the currently active earrings (currently the Stars and Hoops Earrings) for all 18" dolls) Bright Blooms Earring Set for WellieWishers, or specialty earrings for Girls of the Year or Contemporary Characters.
A duplicate set of stud earrings is used, resulting in an extra set of earrings. Piercing is done out of line of sight, and dolls are returned with a sheet on piercing care (including leaving piercings in for at least three hours).
Hearing Aids can also be installed; this is done the same way as piercing. Dolls are returned with a small pamphlet on sign language.