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How To Change Hair Color Using Photoshop

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Written Tutorials

changing hair color using photoshop

Changing the color of an object within an image in Photoshop is very similar to using a coloring book: you fill a specific area of the image with a particular color. The only difference is that a coloring book already comes with defined boundaries, whereas in Photoshop you need to create them yourself.

The method in this article works best when your chosen image is simple in composition, and hair can be easily distinguished from other elements in the image.

In this tutorial, we will use the Replace Color tool to automatically select hair, and thereafter we will deselect any unnecessary or extra parts of the image the software may have picked up.

Before we begin, you should already have the image opened in Photoshop. If you would like to know how that’s done, click here.

As you can see, the image I have used is very simple, and the model’s hair clearly stands out from the rest of the image.

Step 1: Duplicate Background Layer

Changing hair color in photoshop

Duplicate the background layer by right clicking on it and selecting Duplicate Layer.

Duplicate Layer option Photoshop
Duplicate Layer option Photoshop

Step 2: Color Replacement

Now that you have created a duplicate layer, go over to the menu bar and click Image > Adjustments > Replace Color.

Photoshop replace color adjustment tool

This will be the tool we will be using to change the color.

First, we will have to define a major color in the hair. To do this, use the eyedropper tool to select a color that occurs most frequently in the hair. This will give you a basic selection of the hair region in the image.

Photoshop eyedropper tool

Now, select the + eyedropper tool, and click and drag it around the entirety of the hair region to select all of the shades that occur.

Photoshop eyedropper tool +

Once all the shades are selected, the preview in the Replace Color window should show the entire hair as a continuous white region, with the majority of everything else in the image as black.

Photoshop Replace Color window

Now, click on the Result color box, and select the new color for your hair.

Photoshop Result Color box gold

This step requires some experimentation on your part to see what color selection appears best to you.

You may want a naturalistic hair color change from brown to, say, golden, or you may want something more dramatic like me. It really is subjective, so feel free to play around.

Photoshop Result Color box blue

Other parts of the image will also change color when you do this. This is normal. Do not panic.

Photoshop change hair color to blue

This is what your image might look like at this point.

Step 3: Cleanup

We will now deselect all unnecessarily altered parts of the image. Since many parts of our model’s skin and face have also changed color, we will correct them back to as they should be.

Go the layers bar and click on the Add Layer Mask icon. This will add a layer mask to your Background Copy layer.

Photoshop add a layer mask

Now, go to the tool bar and select the Brush tool.

Photoshop select the brush tool

Make sure the color selected is black. This is important since we will be masking out unnecessary portions of the image. If we were masking in, for example to make any masking corrections, we would select white.

Photoshop select black as foreground color

Now, use the Brush Preset Picker menu to select a large, soft brush to correct the major parts of the image, such as the arms and the center of the face.

Photoshop the Brush Preset Picker
Photoshop mask the unwanted area

Now, select a smaller brush. Zoom into the image using Alt + Scroll, and carefully paint out the remaining areas in the image. Again, take your time to do this step and feel free to experiment.

Usually, it’s a good idea to go over the edges of the skin and into the hair for a more natural transition. However, a little more care needs to be taken around clothing, and around finer hairs near the bottom of the image.

You can further experiment with shades by using the opacity slider and find the right balance that works best for you.

That’s about it. At this point, you should have a finished image.

Photoshop change hair color to blue
Photoshop change hair color to pink