Everything to Know About Pinterest’s First-of-Its-Kind Search Tool for Diverse Hair Patterns

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In 2018, Pinterest launched the industry’s first inclusive product feature that let users search for Pins within a range of skin tones. Today, it builds on that commitment to inclusive beauty with the launch of a hair pattern search feature that is also a first-of-its-kind technology.

Created with Black, Brown and Latinx Pinners in mind, the new tool uses computer vision–powered object detection to allow users to refine their hair searches by six different hair patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight, and shaved/bald. If someone searches for a broad term related to hair, such as “short hair” or “summer hairstyles,” they can then narrow their results by selecting one of these six patterns, helping them find inspiration that most closely relates to their style. According to the brand, its global internal data from July 2021 revealed that it has detected a hair pattern in more than 500 million images on the platform.

Another compelling stat: In the past month alone—from June 21 to July 21—there were more than 120 million searches containing the word “hair,” and more than 5 billion Pins were created related to hair. Among these searches were many that were personalized and specific, such as 214,000 for “coi leray braids,” 75,000 for “summer box braids,” 15,000 for “natural hair twists protective,” and 13,000 for “best haircuts for thick wavy hair.”

“As a visual discovery platform, we have an opportunity and responsibility to do a better job of increasing representation in the products we build,” says Annie Ta, head of inclusive product for Pinterest. “That’s why we built hair pattern search. 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.”

Pinterest also consulted with third-party BIPOC creators and and Pinners, including amika’s global artistic director Naeemah LaFond, to enhance overall user experience. “This new tool will mark a much needed milestone for racial equity in the world of coding,” says LaFond. “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.”

The new search tool is available now in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and will launch in certain international markets over the coming months. 

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