How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 01 1 Videos (1:06m)
  • 01 - Introduction to Cutting Out Hair
    Aaron outlines this tutorial and discusses the challenges of cutting out hair in Photoshop.
How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 02 9 Videos (2:12h)
  • 01 - Selecting Hair with Select Color Range
    Cutting out hair doesn’t have to be difficult! Learn to use Select Color Range to make quick and accurate selections in any photo where the hair is a different color than the background.
  • 02 - Painting Hair | The Brush Tool & Brush Settings
    The Brush Tool can do it all. Aaron demonstrates how to use the Brush Tool and how to adjust Brush Settings so that you can manually paint in natural-looking hair.
  • 03 - Painting Hair | Recreating Hair with the Brush Tool (Part 1)
    Now that the Brush Tool is set up, Aaron puts it to work painting in realistic hair and recreating fine details.
  • 04 - Painting Hair | Recreating Hair with the Brush Tool (Part 2)
    It's time to put the finishing touches on the image. Aaron completes the cutout and refines the selection using Clipping Masks.
  • 05 - Custom Brushes | Creating a Custom Brush
    Save time with this handy workflow technique! Learn to create and save custom brushes that can recreate a particular shape and style of hair.
  • 06 - Custom Brushes | Painting Hair with a Custom Brush
    Using our new custom brush, Aaron completes a detailed cutout of a cat that includes a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures of hair.
  • 07 - Advanced Selections with Channels
    One of the most powerful selection tools in Photoshop, Channels can capture amazing levels of detail based off of the color information and contrast in an image.
  • 08 - Select Focus Area & Select and Mask
    A shallow depth of field can make selecting hair even easier. Learn how to use Select Focus Area and Select and Mask to make an accurate cutout.
  • 09 - Removing Color Fringe with Clipping Masks
    Aaron goes in-depth with Clipping Masks, using them to both refine a detailed selection of hair and remove color fringing.
How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 03 8 Videos (2:25h)
  • 01 - Cutting Out Straight Hair
    Straight hair might seem easy, but it contains a surprising amount of detail. Learn to make a quick selection of straight hair and use the Brush Tool to manually paint in details and flyaways.
  • 02 - Cutting Out Curly Hair
    Curly hair that blends into a background is impossible to cut out, right? Wrong! Aaron teaches a powerful technique, using similar hair from a second image to get the job done.
  • 03 - Cutting Out Hair on a Simple Background
    Whenever there is a clear distinction between a subject's hair and the background, Channels should be your go-to tool to create a perfect selection.
  • 04 - Long Hair | Creating Advanced Custom Brushes
    Aaron introduces a brand new technique, creating a custom brush that can paint multiple strands of hair simultaneously - all with natural texture, contour, and variation.
  • 05 - Long Hair | Complicated Background (Part 1)
    Using our new advanced custom brush, Aaron begins a challenging cutout of long hair on a complicated background.
  • 06 - Long Hair | Complicated Background (Part 2)
    Long hair, don't care. Aaron completes the image while using the advanced custom brush to identify and follow the natural shape and contours of our subject's hair.
  • 07 - Facial Hair | Creating Advanced Custom Brushes
    In this section, Aaron creates an advanced custom brush that is designed to recreate both short hair and coarse facial hair.
  • 08 - Facial Hair | Matching Hair Style & Texture
    In our final section, Aaron completes the image with a new advanced custom brush that matches the length and texture of the subject's short, styled hair.
Home  >  PRO Tutorials  >  PRO Compositing  >  How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop



How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop


Retouchers and compositors all agree that selecting and cutting out hair can be a major challenge. It’s even harder when you’re new to Photoshop. With thousands of strands of hair going a hundred different directions, how can you possibly preserve all of that natural variation and detail?

In this tutorial, we show you everything you need to know to realistically cut out and paint hair in Photoshop. Learn to make quick selections using Select Color Range, make advanced selections with Channels, and paint in new, ultra-realistic hair with the Brush Tool. Whether your subject is rocking perfectly combed locks or a nasty case of bed head, the techniques in this tutorial will guarantee that you capture every strand, every time.

What’s Included

18 Video Tutorials   |   12 Sample Images   |   10 Custom Photoshop Brushes

Class Instructor

Aaron Nace – PHLEARN Founder

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Cut Out Hair in Photoshop

Cutting out hair is tricky and it will often require multiple tools to get the job done right. We show you the tools that will help you preserve the most detail while creating a cut-out that will look fantastic on any background.

Cut Out Hair From Any Background

As if hair wasn’t difficult enough to cut out, a complicated background can make it even tougher. Learn to make perfect selections of hair on busy backgrounds and even backgrounds that match the color and tone of the hair.

Perfect Hair Masking

Looking at the Layer Mask will tell you a lot about how realistic your selection will look on a new background. If it has unnatural edges, it probably isn’t going to work. We show you how to sculpt a layer mask that will maintain all of the detail of every strand of hair.



Make Accurate Selections of Hair

Some our favorite selection tools, like the Pen Tool or Magic Wand Tool, just won’t cut it. Fortunately, there are some quick selection tools that will make cutting out hair a breeze. Learn to use Select Color Range and Channels to quickly and easily capture all the detail you need.

Tools & Tips for Any Type of Hair

Hair comes in countless varieties of shapes and colors. Straight hair? Easy. Curly hair? No problem. Dark hair on a dark background? We’ve got you covered. We walk you through several different situations and work through the challenges so you’ll feel confident in solving any creative problems that come your way.

Advanced Tools & Techniques

We cover a wide range of techniques that demonstrate how to select hair, cut out hair, and even paint in new hair in Photoshop. We take you through quick and easy methods that will work for certain images. Then we walk you through advanced techniques that will yield professional results, no matter how challenging the situation.



Paint Hair in Photoshop

For realistic results, cutting out hair will usually require painting in new hair to add and recreate details. We turn the Brush Tool inside-out, showing you every setting to create ultra-realistic looking hair – from single strands, to long flowing locks.

Custom Hair Brushes

Custom brushes make the process of painting hair easier and more convincing. We show you how to create custom brushes based off of the type of hair in a photo. Not only will the brushes match the shape, color, and contour of the original hair but they also have natural-looking variance and randomness.

Make Quick Selections

Selection tools can only do so much when cutting out hair in Photoshop. We show you tools that will allow you to make quick, accurate selections of your subject so that you can focus on creating a perfect cut-out of their hair.





Advanced Tools & Techniques

We cover a wide range of techniques that demonstrate how to select hair, cut out hair, and even paint in new hair in Photoshop. We take you through quick and easy methods that will work for certain images. Then we walk you through advanced techniques that will yield professional results, no matter how challenging the situation.

Remove Color Fringing

Matching light and color can make or break a composite image. Hair will often reflect a lot of the light and color from the original environment. Learn how to remove fringing and match colors so hair will look beautiful on any new background.

Clipping Masks

Clean cut-outs and selections will often need a lot of refinement as you work. Clipping Masks are an important tool for cleaning up edges without affecting an image as a whole. Learn to use clipping masks to repair color and remove color fringing in Photoshop.



Layer Masks

Layer Masks are the blueprint of your selection and the edges of a mask should contain just as much detail as the hair in the original photo. We show you how to use Layer Masks to guide and correct your work so that your final image looks natural and realistic.

The Brush Tool

The Brush Tool is one of the most versatile tools in Photoshop and this tutorial will show you exactly why that is. Learn to use the Brush Tool to paint in realistic hair, make adjustments to Layer Masks, and speed up your workflow with custom brushes and settings!

Brushes Included

Not only do we show you how to create your own custom brushes, but we include several brushes that will work beautifully for a variety of different hair styles and types. From coarse facial hair, to long soft locks, to the thick fur on a cat or dog.

Class Instructor

Aaron Nace


Aaron Nace is a photographer, Photoshop artist and founder of PHLEARN. He is the #1 Photoshop instructor in the world with millions of YouTube subscribers.


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic course. Cutting out curly hair using another person’s hair was genius.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    How are there not more reviews on this? I have learned so much from this entire package of hair cut out tutorials. It completely changed all of my years of tedious (and, in retrospect, sup-par) techniques that I have learned from others. It was worth the hours I took to study and learn these techniques and I look forward to using them on a regular basis. Not only has it sped up my workflow but it has my made the final product so much better. Thanks Phlearn!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thanks to this series, I finally faced my biggest problem and it turned out to be easier than I thought. Thank you, Aaron 🙂

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Every time I think I have this thing mastered (and do a bunch of images on my own) I come back to see what else I have to learn. Man…humbling! Even after 15 years using photo editing software (and 3 using PS alone) I still can learn so much. I can’t praise Aaron Nace and everyone at Phlearn enough. The tricks, techniques, and just the skills that I have been learning from the past month are alone worth what I paid for a whole year of Phlearn. But as for this Hair tutorial: I would give it 25.9 stars if I could (Why .9? Because 26 stars just seemed ridiculous so I pulled it back a tiny bit).

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    I had always struggled with hair and Aaron explained how it all works in a way that I now feel confident to do it. As usual I learned a lot of other useful stuff on the way.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I learned so much from this tutotial. A surprising number of new tips I picked up were not about the hair itself, which is like a bonus. This was time well-spent. Thanks, PHLEARN.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    These fantastic hair cutout and replacement techniques will undoubtedly reduce my own hair pulling when extracting subjects from backgrounds. Thanks for this deep dive into the mystical depths of Photoshop CC. Mr. Nace and his team are simply brilliant.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent group of videos. Have been cutting hair out the same way for most photos so these lessons were very informative. Arron’s manner is considerate and his teaching technique is very easy to follow. Will watch some parts again to ensure I have the correct steps. Thank you.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another awesome tutorial, learnt a lot ways to cut out hair and also good uses of custom brushes.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great lesson I learned a lot as always awesome work

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazing like always!

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Looking forward to this tutorial. I have a couple of general suggestions to help those of us choosing from your catalog. (1) If you could let us sort our search results by things like “date” or “length”. (2) If you could include date posted of each tutorial somewhere in the main description. (3) If you could also note the version of photoshop used in the tutorial. Sometimes I am looking for something made after a certain update to see if new tools/features are included. I love you guys. Wish I could keep up. 🙂

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    You are the best teacher everything i learned about photo editing is from you, is there any photography courses about lighting and taking pictures pretty much everything before post processing.?.???

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Once again, Aaron and his team take a topic and create the definitive tutorial for it. Highly recommended. Just a note that I found creating a keyboard shortcut for “Stroke Path…” helped with the workflow.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Write your thoughts here…pls i cant watch the video can u help me

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial, Aaron. More than talking about hair masking, what is by itself already fantastic, this tutorial brings unique approach on channels and brush customization, along with path stroke benefits. Congratulations! I highly recommend it for all Photoshop skill levels.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    It was a very useful tutorial for me. I was surprised how easily you cut out curly hair. Amazing tutorial, Thank you!!

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic tutorial about a challenging subject. I learned the most from the cutting out curly hair section in which one moves the mask with the marquee tool. I add to my fund of knowlege with each new course, even if I think I’ve learned it all before. Thanks so much to Aaron!

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    This tutorial covered a lot of techniques that I wish I knew about when I have dome previous projects. One of these was ‘clipping masks’, which was something that would have helped me in so many other projects. Thanks Aaron!

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve been waiting for a hair tutorial like this for years! I haven’t gone through all of it yet, but what I’ve seen so far has exceeded my expectations (which was high to begin). I used a couple of the techniques on one of my photos and it came out flawless! Great work PHLEARN and Aaron!

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    Love the tutorials and has helped to take my skills to the next level. The one thing that could be made better is if the table of contents were more descriptive in terms of what the lesson was specifically targeting instead of having to watch the introduction to the lesson. Thanks again for making such great videos!

    PHLEARN Staff
    Thanks for the suggestion, we are actually working on implementing that feature!
  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another fantastic tutorial. Aaron makes learning fun and easy. Thank you Aaron and your minions.

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just crazy amazing I learned so many new techniques. Always something new to learn. Fantastic teacher thanks a million

  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    If Aaron Nace isn’t nominated for a sainthood then he should at least be inducted into the Photoshop hall of fame. EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch a Phlearn tutorial my Photoshop skills go up another notch. #InsertPhotoOfAaronWithHaloAboveHeadHere.

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another great tutorial, very thorough and detailed. Although, maybe it should have been called ‘How to Cut Out, and Create Hair in Photoshop’.


This tutorial includes 12 sample images, 10 custom brushes, and 18 video tutorials. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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