Voodoo and its African root magic are very very potent, indeed. So is huna magic and the magics of left hand Tantra. Of course success here depends on more than just going through the motions of a ritual. You have to really channel what the ritual is about, and that requires a certain training. Practitioners of Santeria can also be Catholic, so practice falls within the bounds of the Christian faith (not officially though), since Orishas are associated with saints.
Dolls are simple and can be hand made. It is the spirits that you
evoke that carry out your will. If you do it all by yourself with
your focused mind power, then it is not voodoo by definition!!!
I have made some dolls myself as I was taught by a friend of mine but I no longer do it as I have moved on and am happy with my spirit guides, familiars and other spirit entities. The main question is, what are you trying to accomplish then use a plan of action to achieve your goals. There is always more than one way to get what you want!