Hair dye in Photoshop

After eye wrinkle remover, we make another cosmetics “tool” retire – this time, it is hair dye. Why should you experiment with your very own hair if it’s much easier virtually? We dedicate this article especially to our dear female readers. With a few minutes of patience, you can easily pick the hue and shade you like the best, and after printing the picture, you can ask your friends and family about the new look without any severe consequences.

Load the photo in Photoshop

Yes, it is red, _very_ red, but what if you’d like dark brown, blonde, or purple? No worries, each one is possible.

Get those lamps!

The essence of the whole procedure is to select the hair. Unfortunately, this will take the most of your time, especially when dealing with an unruly coiffure.

You have about 1001 methods to do this. We chose Quick Mask. To do so, click the indicated icon at the bottom of the Tools palette, or press Q. In Quick mask mode, you can paint onto the picture just like any other time, but the result of the painting will be a selection.  Select the Brush among the tools (also indicated above), and choose a mid-sized soft one to paint over the hair. Don’t mind if you touch other areas of the picture here and there, you’ll have the opportunity to correct it. Of course, you won’t be able to select every single hair with this method. On the other hand, it’s fairly quick.

We need the other half

Press Q  again to quit Quick Mask mode and get the selection you have painted. Well, the areas you went over make a mask, which means Photoshop will select all but these areas. In order to select the hair, you have to invert the selection. Right-click it, and click Select Inverse in the context menu.

If the selection marquee annoys you, press Ctrl+H. This makes the marquee vanish, but the selection remains active, so that from now on, you can work with just the hair.

From red to brown

To alter the hair color, click Image/Adjustments/Selective Color. This feature enables you to change colors using ranges. You can select the ranges at the top of the dialog. Make sure you select Absolute for Method.

For red hair, you should obviously select Reds as the color range. In order to eliminate reddishness and produce a brown color, drag Cyan to the right. We found the best brown hue when setting all the sliders to their maximum values. Black sets the lightness of hair. Increase it for darker hues.

Telltale signs

As the selection was not entirely accurate, other parts of the picture might have also changed their colors with the previous action. For example, the areas along the edges of the hair or the face, which have been touched by the selection, became a bit darker and browner.

Select the History Brush (indicated above), and select a small, soft brush to paint over these areas. History Brush restores the original state of the picture in the treated parts.

Even browner

As the first wave of Selective Color didn’t provide us with the color we wanted—the hair remained a bit reddish—, we applied it once again with similar settings. If you get the hue you’d like, press Ctrl+D. This deletes the selection. You can now save the image.

I got my hair

You’ve got practically unlimited possibilities, just like with all the coloring materials available at your drugstore. Feel free to experiment with blonde, purple or anything you like!

Blonde is for advanced users, though, as you have to adjust significantly not only the hues, but also lightness. Besides Reds, we also fiddled about with Yellows, and dragging the Black slider strongly to the left was also an important step.

Have fun trying around!