With Photoshop’s selection tools, you can also find out exactly what you’d look like with a different hair color, without going through the trouble of dyeing your hair.
How to Select Your Hair in Photoshop
- Open the Quick Selection Tool in the Tools Menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut W.
- Select the area of the portrait with hair. You can use the square brackets [ and ] to increase and decrease the size of the brush. Hold down the Shift key to add additional parts of the image to your selection, and hold down the Alt key to remove sections of the image from your selection.
- You can also refine your selection by clicking Select and Mask. Adjust the sliders for the select and mask settings: Smooth, Feather, Contrast, or Shift Edge. This is very much a trial and error process, and you’ll find that it’s best to play around with the feature to see what works best for your image.
- Once you’re done, click OK.
Now that you have your selection made, there are two ways you can go about changing the hair color. One method cannot be reversed, while the other can.
Using this image by Meireles Neto from Unsplash of a dark-haired model with black hair, we can use either of these methods to change her hair color.
How to Change Hair Color in Photoshop
If you’re not concerned about having to reverse the changes, use this method:
- Go to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color.
- Select Neutrals from the dropdown menu.
- You can now adjust the sliders based on the color you want in your end result. Bump up the yellow slider if you want blonde hair. Bump down the cyan slider if you want redder hair. Bump down the black slider if you want grey hair.
- You can also play around with the other options in the dropdown menu if you’re looking for a more drastic change of color.
Your adjustments will also vary depending on the original hair color — experimentation will go a long way with finding the right hair color you’re looking for. This method is more forgiving when it comes to the accuracy of your selection.
If you want to be able to easily discard your changes, use this method:
- After you’ve made your selection, duplicate the layer with your image.
- Delete your selection by hitting Delete on your keyboard.
- Create a new empty layer using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + N.
- Using the paint bucket tool (keyboard shortcut G), fill the deleted space with the color of your choice.
- In the layers panel, click the blend mode dropdown menu (it should be set to Normal by default).
- You can play around with the available selections. We found that Soft Light and Overlay were good options. Darken and Multiply also worked, as long as we bumped the opacity of the layer down a little.
This method is less forgiving when it comes to your selection, and you’ll want to spend time making sure your selection is as accurate as possible, otherwise you may find yourself removing parts of the image you need.
As is the case with most things in Photoshop, there are multiple ways to do things. Do you have a preferred method for changing hair color in Photoshop? Let us know in the comments.