How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop 2022-2024

Learn how to cut out hair in Photoshop with these awesome new techniques and options. Save plenty of time cutting out one of the most complex subject matters in photographs for a natural-looking finish.

Cut Out Hair Video Tutorial

There are quite a few steps to doing this tutorial thoroughly. If you’d prefer to watch me working on the model photograph at your own pace, feel free to watch the video tutorial below.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Don’t fancy the video tutorial? Follow along below with my very specific step-by-step tutorial, using the images to guide you.

Step 1 – Open your image and locate the lasso tool.

Step 2 – Draw a loose lasso outline around the subject you intend to cut out and connect the lasso at the start and finish, then release. A selection should now appear around the subject. Click ‘select and mask’ (top center).

Step 3 – Your properties panel, with the subject outline, should now appear, as shown below.

Step 4 – Help better see the cut result by selecting a contrasting color from the ‘color’ box (under view mode/opacity) and bring up the opacity on the opacity slider.

Step 5 – Under ‘refine mode’ select ‘object aware,’ then on the top bar, select ‘select subject’ and ‘ok’ from the discard selection box.

You will have now made a selection, as shown below.

Step 6 – Further improve the quality of the selection by then selecting the ‘refine hair’ button (top bar), and once clickedd check the ‘decontaminate colors’ option under the ‘output settings’ in properties. This should further improve the selection.

Step 7 (optional) – If you’d like to go even further, use the sliders under the ‘global refinements’ panel in the properties box to smooth, feather, and make additional changes.

Step 8 – Once you’re happy with the cut, refinement, and selection, make sure ‘new layer with layer mask’ is selected under ‘output’ in the ‘output settings,’ and finally press ‘ok’ (bottom right).

We should now have a layer mask created above the original image.

Step 9 – To better understand where we can make further improvements to the selection by adding to/removing from the layer mask, add a new layer behind the layer mask (create new layer icon, bottom right).

Step 10 – Select the ‘paint bucket’ tool.

Step 11 – Click your foreground color (black and white overlapping squares, left-hand toolbar) and select a contrasting foreground color from the color box, then click ‘ok’.

With the new layer selected, simply click to add a fill color.

Step 12 – While our layer mask is looking good, as you can see there are still areas we can improve. Click the mask part of the layer, not the image (as shown), then reset your foreground and background color to black/white, and finally select your brush tool (left-hand toolbar).

Step 13 – Click the brush options (top left), and use the sliders to select a small brush with a hardness of 0px, so that your brush strokes are softer.

Step 14 – Use zoom (cmd/ctrl +/-) and the hand tool (h) to zoom in and locate the areas of the image that need a little more work. As you can see below, there is a little area to the left where the blue of the background has not been erased.

Step 15 – Double check that your mask layer, not image layer, has been selected, that your foreground/background colors are black/white (so that we can paint on the mask, black to remove, white to add) and that your brush is selected. In the top bar, set a lower opacity to your brush, so that your mask removal is much softer.

Step 16 – Painting with black, go ahead and remove the areas of the mask that need to be removed accordingly. Switch to white at any time to add back to the mask, then back to black to remove areas of the mask. Repeat this step as many times as required, focusing on those little areas that the original refine hair/decontaminate colors selections failed to pick up.

Once finished, you should have a subject matter with expertly cut out hair to be used in a variety of different ways on any type of background, design, or artwork.

Cutting out hair has always been one of Photoshop’s most difficult challenges. However, using a combination of the selection tool, subject selection and refine hair options, masking, and touching up with the brush tool, you can create gorgeous-looking cuts no matter how complex the hair in your photograph is.

Featured Image: Look Studio/Shutterstock

Leave a Comment