If you plan to make an ethnic Reborn doll with a darker skintone, the oil paints are the best way to make a beautiful overall skintone. Oil paints give the ethnic babies a glowing, rich skincolor that is just gorgeous. It does take a long time for oil paints to dry, so patience is required. We recommend a minimum of six weeks to dry and cure. One doll artist I talked with said that the waiting period doesn't bother her because she has so many dolls in progress that it's not as if she's waiting for this one doll to be completed.
If time is a factor, you might want to buy a vinyl doll that already has a dark skintone and enhance it, rather than do an all-over skin color.
RIT Dye is a good option for ethnic dolls or even the white dolls. Some doll artists like to dip all the white doll pieces in a tan/rose mixture, quickly, to tone the "plastic" color of the vinyl.
You can mix dye colors easily to create your own custom tones. I mix black and brown together for dark skin tones. Brown alone tends to be too red. Black has a bluish/purple cast to it. Together, the skin tone is not so reddish.
RIT dye is specifically recommended for vinyl. The RIT web site has "recipes" for mixing your own colors.
Some of the vintage doll collectors have used RIT to restore color to their dolls, such as the arms of the PlayPal dolls.
Some doll artists use RIT for the "Purple Wash". You can pour dye into the vinyl pieces to color just the inside. There are risks (see our chapter on purple wash) but some people still prefer to do the inside color.
I have even used spray paint inside the vinyl pieces, and it worked well. I sprayed a light pink color first, then a mauve tone next. It took a very long time to dry completely (several weeks!) but it did do a nice job for the inside wash. Two years later the pieces look the same. (There are some spray paints that are recommended for vinyl and plastics.)
It's probably best to use RIT dye if you must color inside the vinyl. I heard of some ladies who used acrylic paint inside the pieces, and assembled the doll within 24 hours. And I also heard about dolls that got MOLDY inside, because the paint wasn't thoroughly dry when the doll was put together.