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Pinterest Launches Hair Pattern Search for Inclusive Beauty Results

August 18, 2021
August 18, 2021

Aside from being the right thing to do, the US Census reaffirms inclusivity is increasingly becoming a business imperative as the country grows more racially and ethnically diverse. Over the past decade, the multiracial population has increased by 276%.

Pinterest has rolled out its latest advancement in inclusive beauty search to serve the millions of people that use Pinterest for hair and beauty inspiration. Following AR Try on and skin tone ranges, the platform unveiled a first-of-its-kind technology with Black, Brown, and Latinx Pinners in mind that empowers users to search for hair inspiration across hair types.

The new search technology meets the needs of millions of Pinners already looking for an easier way to find hair inspiration. In this past month alone, over 120 million searches for hair and over 5 billion Pins were created that related to hair. Among these top 500 trends, 17% of hairstyle trends contain hair pattern keywords, including "coi leray braids" (214X), "summer box braids" (75X) and "afro kinky hairstyles braids" (3X).

"Our mission on the Inclusive Product team is to help everyone feel like Pinterest is a place for them."
By Annie Ta, Head of Inclusive Product, Pinterest

Through computer vision-powered object detection, hair pattern search enables Pinners to refine hair searches by six different hair patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight, and shaved/bald. Over the coming weeks, Pinners can search for a broad hair term like "summer hairstyles,” "glam hair,” or "short hair,” and narrow their results by selecting one of the six hair patterns to find hair inspiration that is most relevant to their style and preference in over 500 million images on Pinterest.

This new technology builds on Pinterest's industry-first inclusive product feature, skin tone ranges, first launched in 2018. Pinterest's Head of Inclusive Product Annie Ta says, "Our mission on the Inclusive Product team is to help everyone feel like Pinterest is a place for them. As a visual discovery platform, we have an opportunity and responsibility to do a better job of increasing representation in the products we build. That's why we built hair pattern search using computer vision technology to help identify hair patterns in images. By doing this, we hope we're able to use technology for good and make it easier for people, no matter who they are, to find hair inspiration for them on Pinterest."

Pinterest's Inclusive Product team, formed to bring cross-functional thinking to fairness in AI and product development, worked with BIPOC creators and Pinners like Editorial Hair Stylist and Global Artistic Director at Amika Naeemah LaFond to help build and design the product. A champion of diverse hair representation, LaFond advised on the overall user experience and language used in the product.

"This new tool will mark a much needed milestone for racial equity in the world of coding. Just the simple idea that I don't have to work twice as hard to find a hairstyle because of my hair type is a game changer. I'm sure that in the coming years we will find ways to even further improve the process, but I'm excited that with Pinterest we've taken one huge step forward,” LaFond said.

Hair pattern search is available in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and on iOS and Android, and will roll out to international markets over the coming months.


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