How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop

I can still remember how challenging it seemed when I first tried to crop hair in Photoshop. That’s because dealing with the random and intricate edges of hair is a very different beast, even if you are familiar with doing so. 

Fortunately, after working in Photoshop for years, I have my favorite method that I consistently utilize and am confident will help you get your desired outcomes.

I have over five years of Adobe Photoshop experience and am Adobe Photoshop certified. In this article, I’ll teach you how to cut out hair in Photoshop. 

Key Takeaways

  • Luckily this method is a manual way to cut out hair, so it can be adapted to any type of photo.
  • Some complicated backgrounds make it difficult to cut out hair, don’t worry though that’s why this method is manual. 

How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop Using Select and Mask

The Select and Mask approach, in contrast to the refine edges method, calls for manual selection. You have a lot more influence over your choices using this approach.

Step 1: Open the image you wish to use. 

Step 2: To begin using this technique, open your image in Photoshop first. Next, go to the overhead menu and choose Select > Select and Mask, or use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Ctrl + R (Windows) or Option + Command + R (Mac).

Step 3: You must make some changes to the Properties panel settings from the Select and Mask workspace. To begin with, switch the View Mode to Overlay.

Step 4: To make your choice while seeing the subject and its background more clearly, you can leave the view mode opacity at 50%.

Step 5: The optimal mode for choosing hair is Object Aware, so change the refine mode to that. However, you can experiment with both settings to discover which one suits your image the best.

Step 6: Check the Smart Radius box after that. With this option, Photoshop’s artificial intelligence will assist you in making better selections by identifying the edges of your image.

Step 7: Grab the Brush tool from the workspace’s left side now (B).

Then, alter certain brush settings in the Options menu. By dragging the size slider to the right, start by setting the brush to a large size. Next, set the Spacing to 1% and the Hardness to 100%.

Step 8: Then, beginning in the center, paint over the image’s focal point and around the hair. 

Step 9: Grab the Refine Edge Brush tool on the left side of the screen.

Step 10: Then, depending on how thick the hair strands you wish to refine are, use the brush tool settings to set the hardness between 1% and 10%. I adjusted my brush’s hardness to 2% because I wanted to polish very fine hair strands.

Use the left bracket key [ on your keyboard to reduce the brush size and the right bracket key ]  to raise it if necessary. The edge of the selection should then be moved inside by brushing around the hair’s edges.

Step 11: Once the hair has been chosen and tweaked, select New Layer With Layer Mask under Output Settings in the Properties window.

The output to option will remove the backdrop and apply your selection to a layer mask. The image can then have a white background added.

Bonus Tips: 

  • Remember always to save your work, you don’t want to start over from scratch.
  • Utilize the refine brush tool, it will help you be precise. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this technique helped you to remove those pesky hairs. Removing hair in Photoshop can be tricky, but with practice, it gets easier. Most of the time, the hard part is the complexity of the backgrounds in the images. Again, practice makes perfect. 

Any questions about removing hair in Photoshop? Leave a comment and let me know.

About Aly Walters
As a graphic designer who uses the entire Adobe Suite on a daily basis, Photoshop is my inspiration, especially since I'm Adobe certified and use it most often for my graphics and web-designed images.

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  • jeanette anderson

    i don’t have cc can i do the same things with the new version of photoshop elements 2023

    • June

      Photoshop Element is not exactly the same as Photoshop. You could get the same results but the steps can be different