When purchasing a reborn doll, there are many factors to consider. First of all, I would look to see if the highest quality materials are used. For example, you want to make sure that the body of the baby is jointed, because if it's not jointed, it will not have a natural look and feel to it. Doll bodies can be made from doe-suede, heavy-duty cotton, suede, and flannel.
Some materials aren't really the safest and best to use when weighting a baby, sand isn't allowed to be shipped to some countries. Also, the softer body fat pellets may melt inside the dolls vinyl parts and actually destroy your baby over time. If a reborn artist mentions that she has used the softer pellets, as long as it is just inside the cloth body it will be fine.
Use caution when buying a rooted baby. Sometimes the artist roots the hair and doesn't secure it from the inside of the head with water-proof adhesive. This is very important because if the hair isn't secured properly from the inside, the hair can fall out when combed. If the doll is wigged, make sure the arist used a water-proof adhesive and also chose a nice quality wig, synthetic wigs are ok, but they don't look as realistic as the mohair and synthetic mohair wigs. Some human hair wigs are very nice, but some aren't. I would want to see the hair from all angles, front back, sides, top of the head. I've noticed recently a lot of the higher priced babies don't show the back of the heads at all. Maybe the rooting looks as good from the back, and then again, maybe it doesn't. Don't assume because someone's babies are getting top dollars that the back looks as good as the front does.
Eyebrows are usually hand-painted on. Eyelashes can be rooted or glued on. I root all my sleeping babies eyelashes. Look to see if the lashes look natural and are not too overwhelming for the babies features.
Make sure the baby's clothes fit well, clothes that hang off the baby's body don't look as realistic as good-fitting, good quality clothes do. If you aren't sure about what size the baby's clothes are and need to know, be sure and ask the artist. Most artist's are glad to answer your questions.
If the artist's pictures include extra things like a blanket, toys, etc, you might want to check and make sure that these items come with the doll and are not just props. Most artists will tell you what will come home with your new baby, but if it isn't mentioned, you may want to ask the artist.
Buying a reborn doll is a personal choice, and tastes vary. I think it is important to check the artist's feedback, and read their about Me page also. I will say that using paint on the inside of the babies isn't such a good idea, the paints can come thru the vinyl overtime. It is best if the doll has been done with paints on the outside of the doll's body, not inside at all. That is my opinion, and I'm sure some artists may disagree with this, which is of course their right. There are several types of artists paints that work very well with vinyll dolls. One of the most popular methods at this time are the Genesis Heat Set Paints, which are very nice because they will never fade or rub off. Artist's oils work well too, especially if done in thin layers and allowed to cure in between layers.
Lastly, I think good quality eyes are very, very, important. The eyes are the window to the soul, and they should look as real as possible. I like the masterpiece soft-glass eyes, they are so gorgeous. Paperweight and crystal eyes can also be used and are very beautiful as well. The important thing to watch out for with the doll's eyes is that the eyes are not gapping, it is of the upmost important that the eyes are the right size for the doll's socket size.
Hope this helps some of you sort out what to look for in a reborn baby doll, happy doll buying to you all, and remember, have fun!!! Judy