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Pinterest makeup searches can soon be customized by skin tone


More than half of Pinterest’s biggest searches for skin-related topics like makeup include a descriptor for skin color — so Pinterest is rolling out a tool to help users fine-tune their results. After testing the tool last year, on Thur January 24, Pinterest announced what it calls inclusive beauty searches on the mobile app, designed to refine results for makeup and hair.

Prompted by the users using terms like “dark skin,” “pale skin,” and “olive skin” to narrow down results for specific makeup looks, Pinterest launched testing of the tool on the desktop version of the platform in April. The tool only pops up for certain beauty searches related to hair and makeup, displaying a dropdown menu of different “palettes.” Picking a palette allows users to choose a range of skin tones to narrow down the search results.

Pinterest says that additional palettes are coming, but that each one covers a range rather than one specific tone. Rather than attempting to name each skin tone, the palette is a visual display in the form of an icon. The feature was prompted in part because almost 60 percent of the top 100 skin-related searches also included a keyword to limit the results based on color.

While the feature has the potential to customize searches for makeup ideas and tutorials, limiting results by skin tone can be a controversial topic. Pinterest says that the company’s Inclusion and Diversity team worked with the technical team to create an inclusive tool.

Since launching the test last year, Pinterest says that it has fine-tuned the feature based on user feedback. Machine learning has also helped improve the tool since testing, which originally launched on Pinterest for the web.

Pinterest says that beauty is one of the most searched categories on the platform, with billions of saved pins. The company says that women on Pinterest are 2.4 times more likely to try different makeup compared to results from other platforms. In the beauty category, recent trends include glossy makeup (up 89 percent), bold lipstick (467 percent), and going gray (up 879 percent).

The update is coming to iOS over the next few weeks. An Android update is expected to follow, Pinterest says.

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