Pinterest launches hair pattern search with BIPOC users in mind

It's now live in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Pinterest has launched a new search feature that could make it easier for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx and other POC users to find hair inspiration that would suit their hair types. The visual discovery website has introduced hair pattern search, it said, with BIPOC users in mind. This new feature uses computer vision-powered object detection to enable users to refine their searches by six different hair patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight and shaved/bald.

Now, after users search for broader terms like "summer hairstyles," "glam hair" or "short hair," they'll find new hair pattern buttons that will narrow down the results. The feature is now live in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on desktop, as well as on iOS and Android. It will roll out to more locations over the coming months.

Yes, there are different types of curls, not to mention different hair textures and porosities, and Pinterest said its technology detected hair patterns in over 500 million images on its platform. Being able to refine results could help POC users find styling inspiration more easily instead of having to wade through pages and pages of hair images that wouldn't work for their hair types. That said, it remains to be seen how accurate the feature is and if it's truly effective in sifting through images on the website.

According to the company, this feature builds on its first inclusive product that allows users to search for images based on the subjects' skin tones. It worked with BIPOC creators and popular Pinners like Naeemah LaFond to design the product.

Pinterest's Head of Inclusive Product Annie Ta said in a statement:

"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."