Three Black hairstyles created by Sajhmori, Diandra Rose, and Adésayo Adéoyé.

‘Code My Hair’ Guide Gives Developers No Excuse for a Lack of Black Hair Options

Dove has increasingly garnered praise for it’s initiatives promoting self-confidence and the C.R.O.W.N. Act—a policy to ban discrimination of texture hair and cultural styles. Now, company is bringing digital resources to artists and developers looking to include natural hair in their games.

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Since launching its Real Virtual Beauty Initiative, Dove has worked with major companies like Epic Games and Roblox to increase diversity in video games. This includes racial diversity, disability, size, and more. On November 15, the personal care brand announced the release of Code My Crown with Open Source Afro Hair Library.

Code My Crown is a free 226-page PDF guide and collection of assets for recreating textured hair and protective styles in games. Led by game designer/professor A.M. Darke, celebrity stylist NAi’Vasha Grace, and 3D artists Isaac Olander, the project aligns with the OSAHL mission to “radically expand” Black hair representation on screen and the opportunities for Black creators.

“We launched the Real Virtual Beauty Initiative, a commitment to educate and empower game developers to create more diverse and inclusive representation of girls and women in games.”


In what might be the first ever of its kind, the guide aids in rendering 16 Black haircuts in a variety of styles. The resource features step-by-step instructions, 360-degree photo mapping, setting suggestions, reference images, and more downloadable content. Additionally, the guide provides cultural context to these styles. With eight 3D artists located in the U.S., London, and Belgium, this project featured a diversity of Black artists across the diaspora.

The fact that it’s free allows access to indie projects and students alike. Dove and OSAHL created Code My Crown to address Black gamers regular disappointment by natural hair options in games. This issue is something many developers (90% in a survey of 160) have agreed the industry needs more resources for. Resources like this have existed online, but never really this comprehensive or all together.

The Open Source Afro Hair Library

Before the launch of Code my Crown with support provided by Dove, OSAHL began building a free library of natural hair texture models. Like the current project, this came from work put in by POC artists from around the world. The library features several resources for artists in film, TV, and gaming. OSAHL allows these models for educational and commercial use with an asterisks.

While “open source,” Darke maintains some copyright over the assets to limit abuse. This includes prohibiting reselling the already free assets, AI training, and use by the military, incarceration, and similar institutions. Aside from this Dove project, 501(c)(3) nonprofit The Afro Hair Library Foundation funds these free resources.

The Library is intended as a gift to the Black community from which everyone can benefit. Think of it like going to a birthday party; the cake is there to celebrate one person, but all of the guests get to partake in cake and other festivities right alongside them.

Darke, OSAHL

This campaign and the related initiatives are great, but it doesn’t absolve its parent company (Proctor & Gamble) from its ongoing harm to Black and brown people. P&G sells skin bleaching/lightening products. After years of criticism, many companies limited distribution of the bleaching products in the U.S. However, they still invest in it and sell it abroad in places like South East Asia. In 2020, P&G only committed to renaming these products, as if the name was the issue, and it’s profiting from colorism.

Also, the company still sells chemical hair relaxers like Ultra Sheen. In 2022, an 11-year study following 33,000 women found relaxers linked to higher rates of uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. And yet P&G, and their competitors like Unilever, continue to sell these products.

(featured image: Open Source Afro Hair Library)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.