Jul 17, 2015

How to Style Hair in Photoshop

From flyaways to frizzies, hair seems to never do exactly what we want it to. Learn how to shape and style hair in Photoshop in today’s episode!

Section 1: Shaping the Hair

The liquify tool will allow you to push and pull pixels. This is really great, but you never want to do this directly on the background layer. So, duplicate the background layer and work from that one. Then go to Filter – Liquify to bring up the Liquify dialogue.

The only tool you really need to use for shaping hair with Liquify is the Forward Warp Tool. It’s found in the upper left corner. You will notice there are many options for size, pressure, density, etc. (if you aren’t seeing those options, click on Advanced). For hair, we use a density and pressure of about 25. The size you should use varies greatly from photo to photo; you don’t want it to be too small and make a harsh warp trail, but you also don’t want it too large because it will move much more than you’d like. Play around with what size works best for the hair in your photo. Ctrl/Cmd + Z is your friend here!

We use this forward warp tool to push the hair down into a more orderly style. It makes the look a little more cohesive and “put together” looking.

As you can see, the liquify tool does the majority of the work!

Section 2: Clean Up

Next up is clean up! First, create a new layer. we have some residual hair floating above the model’s head, so we use the clone stamp tool to get rid of that. This works for flyaways as well! The hardness of our brush is around 85% so that it’s not too fuzzy.

To clean up the little light hairs that cross over dark hair and look distracting, create a new layer and use the clone stamp tool. The difference here is: change the Blending Mode from Normal to Darken. This magic technique gets rid of those light areas as soon as you paint over them! This can be tedious, but you can spend as much or as little time on this as you want.

Section 3: Fill in Blank Areas

Create a new layer and use the clone stamp tool to paint in another copy of just the hair. Then, bring in that new hair over on top of the actual hair. Then, add a layer mask and paint with white in the area that you want to fill in.

By default, layers and layer masks are linked together. But, you can unlink the two and move each one separately. To do this click on the little chainlink that appears between the layer and the mask. Then, select just the layer and you will see how easy it is to move just the new hair around!! You can even use the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to rotate or adjust the hair inside of that blank area.

One more technique for styling the hair is creating more copies of the hair and using different blend modes (Darken, screen, etc).

Enjoy these styling tools, Phlearners!


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    Thanks again for a wonderful tutorial, and it’s OK that you don’t now the words to The End by The Doors. I watch Phlearn to learn cool tips for Photoshop not your singing.

  • user image

    Loved this one! I never thought to use the liquify tool when dealing with pesky hair! Life saver!!!

  • user image

    Awesome! You are such a genius, I can’t wait to try this out. Thank you so much!

  • user image

    Excellent information, presented in a very informative manner. Will definitely be using this technique. Thank you.

  • user image
    Peter Maloney

    Thanks for the information; I had forgotten some of the tips given. This method can be used to fix other images.

  • user image

    this gave me inspiration as well as information, I’m doing my best to become a 3d texture artist at places like, or btw if you had extremely good nude photo refrences for sale I’d love it if you’d sell them in these places there are never enough, anyway I’d also say I’d love to zerbert his cheeks, thank you and have a groovy day!

  • user image
    Bob Shurtleff

    Thanks! Just what I needed for something I shot last night, where I had a MUA but not hair stylist. Gotta keep Phlearning…

  • user image

    Really useful info…concepts I hadn’t thought about before…thank you!!!

  • user image

    This is the end,
    Take a breathe and count to ten…
    Adele – Skyfall

    Thank you for all this priceless videos !

  • user image
    Wesley Chang

    Great tutorial. But I feel it really only works with textureless backgrounds, not any photo.

  • user image

    Using the push tool in liquefy, if you background is a solid color, the stamp tool may work fine for filling in a warped backdrop, but I find the FREEZE tools helpful when I really need to work on something where there is a possibility I might warp my surroundings. The FREEZE EDGES also helps me avoid pulling the edge of my frame.

  • user image

    Thank you very much for your incredible videos. I love learning and laughing with you at the same time.

  • user image

    May i knw how to increase hairs through smudge tool? i mean wat setting of d brush shud it be?????