Pinterest is launching a search tool to help people narrow their hair inspiration searches by hair pattern. When users search for hairstyles, new filter options — for coily, curly, wavy, and straight textures, as well as shaved / bald and protective styles — will appear under the search bar.
The filters should be particularly useful for people of color looking for styles tailored to their hair textures, and Pinterest says they were created with Black, brown, and Latinx people in mind. “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,” says Naeemah LaFond, an editorial hair stylist and global artistic director of the Amika hair care brand, who advised Pinterest during the feature’s development.
The new feature builds on Pinterest’s skin tone search filters, which were introduced in 2018. To make those filters, Pinterest engineers started with data from ModiFace’s AI library, adjusting the algorithm from there to improve things like its ability to properly categorize skin tones in low light. Pinterest has made improvements to its in-house tech since then, saying it’s now “three times as likely to detect multiple skin tone ranges in top search results, compared to previous technology.”
Pinterest says the hair pattern feature uses “computer vision-powered object detection” to determine which hair types are shown in hairstyle pins. “We built hair pattern search with in-house AI on top of our foundational computer vision technology that is used in visual search and shopping,” says a Pinterest spokesperson. The company says its algorithm has detected hair patterns in over 500 million images on the platform.
Hair pattern search will be rolling out across desktop, iOS, and Android apps over the coming weeks, says Pinterest. The filters will be available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand first, before expanding to other countries in the coming months.
Update August 18th, 11:02 AM ET: Added details about Pinterest’s in-house skin tone and hair pattern detection tech.