Pinterest’s New Search Feature Will Allow BIPOC Users to Sort Results by Hair Pattern

Pinterest’s New Search Feature Will Allow BIPOC Users to Sort Results by Hair Pattern
Image: Pinterest

Doubling down on its efforts to increase inclusivity and representation on the platform, Pinterest announced the launch of a new tool on Wednesday that would specifically make it easier for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and other POC users to winnow hair search results down by pattern.

Image: Pinterest Image: Pinterest

As of Wednesday, searching “hair” on the image discovery platform launches a dialogue box debuting the feature to users, explaining that the tool “helps narrow down the images you see when exploring hairstyle ideas” by filtering results into six categories: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight and shaved/bald. In addition to being able to perform general searches within their hair type, users will also now be able to filter their results when conducting more specific searches for terms like “glam hair” or “wedding hair.”

The search tool — which uses computer vision-powered object detection to identify visual hair patterns in images — was developed in collaboration with BIPOC creators and Pinners like Naeemah LaFond, the global artistic director of the haircare brand Amika, and was specifically designed to ensure that Pinterest remains a diverse and inclusive platform for all users. According to Pinterest, the new software has successfully detected a hair pattern in over 500 million images on the platform and counting thus far.

“This new tool will mark a much needed milestone for racial equity in the world of coding,” LaFond said in a press release. “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.”

Pinterest, it’s worth noting, has been particularly good about working to ensure that its AI is designed with fairness in mind, going so far as to establish an Inclusive Product division that aims to ensure that the brand is constantly increasing representation in its products.

“That’s why we built hair pattern search using computer vision technology to help identify hair patterns in images,” Annie Ta, the head of that department, said in a statement. “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.”

The new tech builds upon Pinterest’s previous attempts to diversify its search results, which included a separate search feature rolled out in 2018 that enabled users to filter beauty results by a skin tone range.

According to Pinterest, hair pattern search is currently available to users in the US, CA, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand on iOS and Android, and will roll out to international markets over the coming months.