It’s no secret that there’s a lack of diversity in the beauty industry. Black and brown women have struggled to find representation in the products they’re using.
Some brands are working fill this gap by creating products that cater to a more diverse customer base and finding ways to help them find resources and products that match their needs.
Pinterest wants to be part of the shift that’s happening in the beauty industry. Today, the tech giant announced that it’s revamped it’s search feature for mobile to include skin tones.
“You hear people talk about bringing together humans and machine learning to create balanced technology, but it’s so important that those people are diverse and can represent a range of people,” a spokeswoman for Pinterest said.
The company began offering customizable beauty searches on the web in April using artificial intelligence from ModiFace, a company that specializes in AI and machine learning for the beauty industry. The company developed an algorithm for skin tone detection, but faced issues with poor lighting and shadows in some images. Pinterest said that it does not store skin tone information — it won’t be used for targeted ads or to predict a user’s ethnicity.
In addition to partnering with ModiFace, Pinterest’s Diversity and Inclusion division teamed up with its Product and Engineering team to to create the platform’s new product. The thought here is that this collaboration will encourage users from different backgrounds to use the app. The teams developed a process to share and review real-time feedback and tested searches.
According to a report by Omnicore Agency, 81 percent of Pinterest users are women. The platform enables users to “pin” DIY project ideas, beauty inspirations, aspirational quotes and more. Founded in 2010, Pinterest has become an online space for inspiration on beauty, style and design; however, some of its users felt left out by the app’s search results when it came to beauty products.
Kenia Hill, a Charleston, South Carolina-based makeup artist who uses Pinterest for inspiration, said that the app’s search results usually end up being white women.
“I think that it would definitely be easier for me to find the looks I’m searching for if more diverse women were readily available,” Hill said.
Pinterest is hoping to change this trend and become more inclusive. Companies like Shea Moisture, Lip Bar and Walker and Company are already changing the beauty industry with products that cater to black and brown communities. Platforms like Pinterest, who are focusing on how inclusivity impacts brands, are honing in on diverse audiences and how these communities can elevate the company.
Earlier this month, Pinterest released a diversity report highlighting the company’s hiring practices and minority representation. The company increased its hiring rates for people of underrepresented ethnicities in engineering and non-engineering roles.