In this photo retouching tutorial, we will see how simple and easy it is to change the hair color in Photoshop by dyeing and coloring someone’s hair in a photo. The technique that we will learn here gives us total control over what we are doing, with several different ways of adjusting the results, in addition, we can also go back at any time we want and change the hair color without having to redo everything. the play! You can use this technique in photos of other people (friends, family, clients), or you can even use it in a photo of yourself to see how different hair colors would look like!
Here is the image I will use for this tutorial:
We will give your hair a brighter and slightly more reddish color in this tutorial, but you have full control over the color you use with your image, as well as the intensity of the color. This is how it will look when we are done:
At the end of the tutorial, we will see how easy it is to return and change the color to something completely different.
This tutorial is part of our portrait retouching collection. Let us begin!
Step 1: Add a “Hue / Saturation” adjustment layer
With our image open in Photoshop, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (the circle is divided diagonally between black and white):
Then select Hue / Saturation from the list of adjustment layers that appears
Step 2: Select the “Coloring” option
When the Hue / Saturation dialog box opens, select the Color option in the lower right corner by clicking inside its check box:
As soon as you select the Colorize option, you will see that your entire image is colored with a red hue.
Step 3: select a new hair color
Drag the Hue slider to the left or right to select the color you want to use for the person’s hair. At the moment, it will color the whole image, but we will fix it in the next steps. Just ignore the rest of the image for now and focus only on the hair. Once you have found a color that you like, adjust the intensity of the color by dragging the Saturation slider to the left or right. Dragging it to the right gives it a more saturated color, while dragging it to the left reduces saturation.
Don’t worry about getting the perfect color and saturation because you can always come back and change it quite easily later. I will set my Hue amount to approximately 9 and increase the Saturation to around 45 for now:
Click OK when finished to exit the dialog box. The woman’s hair now appears colored in red, but so is the rest of her:
Step 4: fill in the mask of the hue / saturation layer with black
One of the best things about adjustment layers in Photoshop is that each one comes automatically with its own layer mask, and we will use it to solve the problem we currently have with all our colored image when all we really want is The hair coloring.
To start, let’s completely hide the effects of the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer by filling its layer mask with black. Since black is our current background color and the layer mask is already selected (Photoshop automatically selected the layer mask when we added the adjustment layer and set our foreground and background colors in black and white, respectively), all What we have to do is use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Backspace (Win) / Command + Delete (Mac) to fill the layer mask with black.
As soon as we do, the color effect disappears from our image and if we look in the Layers palette, we can see that the thumbnail of the adjustment layer, which gives us a preview of what the layer mask looks like, is now full of black:
Step 5: select the Brush tool
To recover the coloring effect and apply it only to the hair, all we have to do is paint with white on our layer mask on the hair. Wherever we paint with white on the layer mask, the effects of the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer will be revealed, and wherever we leave black the effects will remain hidden. First, we need the Brush tool, so select it from the Tools palette or press the letter B on your keyboard to select it with the shortcut:
We need to paint white on the layer mask to reveal the effect of coloring on the hair, and Photoshop has already set our foreground color to white for us, as we can see in the foreground and background color samples near the bottom of the tool palette (the sample on the left is the foreground color and the sample on the right is the background color):
We also already have our layer mask selected, and we can say it because the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette has a white highlighted border around it, as shown in the image from Step 4 above, which tells us that the mask is selected .
Step 6: paint with white on the hair
With our Brush tool selected, the layer mask for the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer selected, and white as our foreground color, all we have to do now is paint on the hair. To quickly change the size of your brush while painting, use the left and right support keys on your keyboard. The left support key makes the brush smaller and the right one makes it bigger. You should use a soft-edged brush, so hold down the Shift key and press the left bracket key several times to soften its edges (if you hold down the Shift key and press the right bracket key several times, the brush edges will be hardest). Then, simply paint on the hair to recover the coloring effect:
For more complicated areas where there are only loose strands, go up to the options bar at the top of the screen and lower the opacity of the brush to approximately 25%:
Then lower the size of your brush so that it is not larger than the area you are coloring and paint on it a couple of times. In this way, the color will not be as intense in those areas. It may also be useful to zoom in those areas, and the easiest way to do this is to hold down the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key and the space bar and drag a selection around the area. Photoshop will then expand the area you selected:
Press Ctrl + Alt + 0 (Win) / Command + Option + 0 (Mac) when you are done to zoom out 100%.
If you make a mistake when painting and accidentally painting over an area that you didn’t want (happens all the time), simply press X to swap the foreground and background colors, making black your foreground color and paint over the Error undoing it. Then, press X again to return the foreground color to white and continue painting until you have all colored hair:
Step 7: change the blending mode to “Color” or “Soft light”
The hardest part is already done! We have colored the hair while leaving the rest of the image intact thanks to the layer mask that comes with the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer. Now we can adjust the effect, and the first way to do this is by changing the blending mode of the adjustment layer. By default, the blending mode is set to “Normal”, and it works quite well, but let’s change to something better. Go to the blending mode options in the upper left corner of the Layers palette, click on the arrow pointing down to the right of the word “Normal” and select Color or Soft Light from the list:
The “Color” mixing mode gives us an even greater coloring effect, since only the color of an image changes (when we had the blending mode set to “Normal”), it affected not only the color but also the brightness values of hair). Here is my image with the blending mode of the adjustment layer set to “Color”:
The “Soft light” blend mode gives us a more dramatic coloring effect because it not only changes the color of the hair but also increases the contrast, which I think works even better than the “Color” blend mode in this case. Here is my image with the blending mode set to “Soft light”:
Choose the blending mode that works best with your image.
Step 8: reduce the opacity of the adjustment layer if necessary
Another way to adjust the coloring effect is to reduce the opacity of the adjustment layer. If you find that the color is too intense, simply go to the Opacity option in the upper right corner of the Layers palette (as opposed to the blending mode option) and lower it until you are satisfied with the results. Here, I have reduced the opacity of the adjustment layer to 50%:
This gives me a more subtle coloring effect:
Step 9: edit the hue / saturation setting to change the hair color as necessary
At this point, we are done, but if you need to go back and change the hair color to something different, just double-click on the thumbnail of the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer in the Layers palette (the thumbnail on the left, not the miniature layer of the mask on the right):
This retrieves the Hue / Saturation dialog box and we can change the hair color simply by dragging the Hue slider to something different. We can also readjust the saturation of the color with the Saturation color. As it is an adjustment layer, we are free to make as many changes as we want without worrying about damaging our image. Just for fun, I will set my Hue slider to 304 to give your hair a more pink / purple look:
I will also set the blending mode of the adjustment layer back to “Color” and increase the opacity to about 75%
And here is my new result:
And there we have it! It’s that easy to change someone’s hair color in Photoshop! See our photo retouching section for more Photoshop image editing tutorials!