How to Smoothen Hair in Photoshop

9 min read

Smoothing of hair is probably the highest priority task for all the portrait photographers. Your make-up artist might be great but I bet she cannot do her job as much perfect as Photoshop can do within minutes.

In fact, many times I have seen photographers asking the same question: How do I smoothen hair in Photoshop? So I have decided to write a tutorial on the smoothing of hair in Photoshop.


If you like watching videos, here’s the video tutorial for you.

Step 1

The very first thing we need to do is to duplicate the background layer two times. You can do it by either going to Layer>Duplicate Layer two times or by pressing Ctrl+J/Cmd+J twice. In case you want to remove the stray hairs too, you can refer to my Removing Stray Hairs tutorial.

Step 2

Now go to Filter>Oil Paint.

  • Stylization: As the model, I am working has her hair highly messed up. This is why I need to increase the slider to 10. You can choose a lower value if the hair you are dealing with is not that much messed up.
  • Cleanliness: Again I chose 10 because of her hair.
  • Scale: Again same reason
  • Bristle Detail: In this image, I don’t want any details. This is why I have put Bristle Details to 0
  • Other two options, Angular Direction, and Shine, are for lighting. So I am not going to touch these options.

Press OK.

Step 3

Oil Paint Filter has also smoothened out model’s chin, lips, eyes, nose etc. In this step, I am going to use a layer mask to mask all the unwanted areas which have been softened out.

Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Now grab Brush from the tool panel ore press Shift+B again and again until it comes. Reduce the hardness to 10-20%.

Make Black as your foreground color and brush all over her face and neck.

Just in case you want, you can also reduce the opacity of the Brush from the option bar and then brush on her hair. With this you can you can lower down the smoothing effect at any part of the image.

Step 4

Personally, I have felt that whenever I use Oil Paint filter, the image gets darken. This can be fixed by increasing the exposure. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Exposure. Increase the Exposure to +0.49.

This makes her face a little bit over-exposed. Again grab Brush and mask her face as we did in the previous step.


So here’s the final image.

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