Dove has teamed with Open Source Afro Hair Library, a user-friendly, curated 3D model database of Black hairstyles, to launch Code My Crown, a free guide to coding Black hair textures and protective styles in video games.

The instructional guide announced earlier this week was created by a community of Black artists in an effort to provide coders and game developers with more diverse and accurate depictions of Black hair in video games.

Code My Crown features 15 original hair sculpts that can serve as the basis for many more virtual hairstyles in video games.

While video games remain an remarkably popular medium, diversity of characters and representation of textured hair has been a longstanding blindspot for the industry. Many gamers, especially those of color, have also sought to see themselves more accurately represented and depicted in games.

Dove cited data that showed 85% of Black gamers believe video games poorly represent textured hair and more than 90% said they would welcome seeing characters reflective of their own experiences.   

Leandro Barreto, SVP of global Dove Masterbrand, said in a statement that the guide is a critical reminder that people should be able to see their beauty represented in both the real and virtual world.  

“The importance of accurately and respectfully depicting textured hair in video games cannot be overstated, and we are proud to play a small part in taking action to set a new standard for diversity and representation in video games,” Barreto stated. “There is more to be done to ensure Black gamers see themselves in the games they play, but we can’t do it alone. We are calling on gaming developers and industry leaders to join us to help make virtual beauty a reality with Code My Crown.” 

This initiative is the latest in Dove’s efforts to support a broad range of consumers and promote inclusivity among its products.

In addition to Code My Crown, Dove has supported developers creating more diverse, inclusive representation of girls and women in games as part of its ongoing Dove Real Virtual Beauty initiatives. 

Over the summer, the Unilever brand also launched the #FreeThePits campaign to address societal beauty standards for women’s underarms. The out of home effort targeted body insecurity with images of confident women showing off their armpits, whether shaven, hairy or stubbly, in poses on New York City subway cars.

In the spring, Dove also put up a billboard constructed out of syringes in Toronto’s One Square to call out toxic beauty standards faced by Canadian teenage girls.