Ideal’s Revlon dolls were introduced in late 1955 or 1956. Although usually referred to as “Miss Revlon” by collectors, it is important to note that the company always promoted the doll as simply “Ideal’s Revlon Doll.” Perhaps the misnomer came about later after the introduction of Little Miss Revlon in 1958. In any case, the Revlon dolls were beautifully made and inspired many copycats.
The Revlon dolls were available in 15″, 18″, 20″, 22.5″ and an extremely rare 25″ size. All sizes of Revlon dolls are made of high quality rigid vinyl with softer vinyl heads. They are most commonly jointed at neck, shoulders, waist and hips (see variations below).
The dolls have good quality rooted hair in shades of platinum blonde, dark golden blonde, auburn and dark brunette. The golden blonde and auburn are by far the most common colors, and the dark brunette the rarest. The hair is styled into a mass of curls held back with pins and hairnet, or in a ponytail style, with bangs. The 15″ dolls, and a few of the larger dolls, have gold elastic headbands.
They have blue sleep eyes (or rarely green) with brush lashes, painted lashes beneath the eyes, and feathered brows. The least expensive dolls did not have pierced ears, but most did. All the dolls have red lips, finger and toenails.
There were several variations on the standard Revlon doll produced.
- In 1958, a doll with bendable legs was sold in a 20″ size. These were the only Revlon dolls sold in pants outfits. See photo above.
- Toward the end of production, a 17″ doll (with the markings of an 18″) was made utilizing less expensive materials, in an effort to make the doll more competitive with Mattel’s Barbie. This doll came with various hairstyles, including a fluffy bubblecut hairstyle, sidepart without bangs, and an updo with spitcurl. She has a somewhat different face, often described as “pixieish,” with one-stroke eyebrows and unpainted toenails. She was sold in a variety of outfits that are completely different than the regular clothing line. She may have been sold by Ideal to other companies for resale, or made by other companies from Ideal molds. She was probably not sold under the “Revlon” name. A pink-haired version of this doll with bangs has been found with unusual brown eyes.
- An 18″ pink-haired Revlon ballerina with softer vinyl arms and bendable elbows has also been found.
- A Walking Revlon Doll in 18″ and 20″ sizes was advertised in 1957. This doll was sold in two different outfits under the Revlon name, and a third outfit under Sears’ Happi-Time label. See the Walking Revlon Doll and Happi-Time Revlon Doll pages for more info.
- A few rare 20″ Revlons were made with leftover arms from Ideals’ Harriet Hubbard Ayer doll. These can be identified by their longer fingernails.
- A prototype doll with bubble cut hairstyle is extremely rare.
Marking is according to size. The 15″ doll is marked “IDEAL DOLL” on the back of her neck and “IDEAL/15/n” on her back. The 18″, 20″, 22″ and 25″ dolls are all marked “IDEAL DOLL/VT-” followed by a number indicating the size, on the back of the neck. For example, the 18″ doll is marked “IDEAL DOLL/VT-18”. These sizes are also usually marked with the size under each arm and inside each thigh.
Click here to go to the Revlon Outfits page.
The earliest dolls were packaged in diamond-print boxes featuring the Ideal logo. Later, the dolls were packaged in the box pictured below. Toward the end of production, Revlon dolls were sold in black laced teddies, and were packaged in narrower boxes with plain gold covers.
Collector’s Guide to
Ideal Dolls, 3rd ed.
by Judith Izen
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Revlon Dolls &
by Kathy Barna
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Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
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Copyright 1997-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard