How To Skin Retouch In Photoshop Tutorial

Did you ever look at magazine shoots or Hollywood celebrity shoots and feel bad that your skin isn’t as flawless as theirs’? Well, let me break it to you no one has skin that looks so picture-perfect. The secret behind the flawless photography you see, no matter how real they appear, is Photoshopped.

That’s right! All these photos, including the simplest social media selfies of many famous people you see, go through skin retouching edits. With the help of Photoshop software, graphic designers and photo editors apply various tools and functions to remove visible flaws from the images. 

And if you want to know how to do skin retouch in Photoshop, this article is for you. Here, I have mentioned different ways to remove flaws from the skin and smoothen it out without making the photos look unnatural.

How To Skin Retouch In Photoshop – Step By Step Tutorial

Now that you feel like you need to learn how to do skin retouching in Photoshop, this part of the article is very important for you. But before we move on, I must ask, how familiar are you with Photoshop? If you know how the tool works, you can instantly catch up with the tutorial.

On the other hand, if you are a complete stranger to this software, I suggest you research a bit so that you can understand what I’m discussing here. Nevertheless, the guidelines are pretty straightforward. So I believe you won’t have much problem following through.

And these are what you will learn here.

  • How To Remove Blemishes In Photoshop
  • How To Fix Lines In Photoshop
  • How To Smooth Skin In Photoshop
  • How To Make Face Look Thin/Wide With Photoshop

Tutorial 1: How To Remove Blemishes In Photoshop

Redness around certain facial areas, such as the nose, lips, the corner of the eyes, etc., is pretty common. But when a photo focuses more on the person’s face, these skin blemishes appear more vividly, making the image a little less appealing. So if the photos have such an issue, you can remove them in the following way.

Step 1: Select The Image/Portrait

Make sure you have the Photoshop application installed on your device first. Then double-click on the application icon (Ps) to launch it. Once it’s launched on your device, you need to upload the image that you want to retouch on Photoshop.


For that, go to the top menu bar and select the File panel. It will open a drop-down menu, and you can select Open from the top option to go to your device storage. From there, you can select the photo and press OK to upload and open the image on Photoshop.

Select Image Photoshop

You can also do the task by pressing the shortcut command CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC) from the keyboard.

Step 2: Set Up The Layer

On the right side of the screen, you will find a different menu box. Go to the layer panel there and duplicate the original layer. It will help you make adjustments layers if necessary. You can press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC) to duplicate the layer using shortcuts. 

If not, just right-click (COMMAND+Click on MAC) on the layer and select Duplicate Layer from the options. Once you have created a duplicate layer, you can rename it with something that can help you find it later.

Step 3: Select The Spot Healing Brush

Select the Spot Healing Brush from the left-side Toolbar. Sometimes, this tool can be found under the Patch Tool, so you have to click on the Patch-like icon to select the tool.

And if you are having a hard time spotting the Patch Tool, just press SHIFT+J (on Windows and MAC) to find the brush or its related options.

Step 4: Set Up Content-Aware Fill

Next, set up the Spot Healing Brush. As the tool works like a brush, it comes in various sizes and widths. And you must adjust those features to ensure you have selected the accurate and best way to remove blemishes.

You can increase and decrease the size of the brush using “[” or “]” (bracket keys). You will get an option that says “Patch” on the new menu bar that opened after selecting the Spot Healing Brush. Make sure to select the option Content-Aware Fill for it if it isn’t there already by default.

Step 5: Remove Blemishes From The Skin

Now that you have set up everything needed to prepare the brush and other options, it is time to do the magic. Find the blemishes and click on the areas with your brush tool selected.

Try not to work on the same area to make it too perfect. Just click on the area you want to fix, and Photoshop will automatically select matched skin pixels from around and fill the areas.

Tutorial 2: How To Fix Lines In Photoshop

If the subject’s face has strong lines and requires some fixings, you can use the Blur Tool to do the job. The best part of using this tool is that you can remove or lower the visibility of blemishes, lines, wrinkles, etc., at once.

Read More:- How to blur the background in Photoshop Tutorial

Moreover, it offers one of the quickest ways to fix skin imperfections. Here is the step-by-step guide to help you fix facial lines using the Blur Tool.

Step 1: Prepare The Layers

You should always have the layers prepared for all types of editing so that you don’t lose your work. But if you are confident that you won’t be required to make any adjustments in the future, you can work on the original layers.

But if you want to be safe, follow step 2 from the previous method to Duplicate or create new layers. And make sure to rename each layer with something that will help you understand which layer contains what edit.

Step 2: Select And Apply Blur

Click on the Filter panel from the top menu bar to open the drop-down menu.

From there, go to Blur and the Gaussian Blur, and then a dialog box will appear.

Adjust the blur radiance until the pores and lines are no longer visible, and then click OK.

Step 3: Select And Apply Texture

If you have a Texture layer already set up, you can now make it visible by clicking the eye icon next to it. Then select Image and Apply Image from the drop-down menu. Once the dialog box appears, you need to make the following adjustments.

  • Set Layer to Blur
  • Check the Invert box
  • Channel to RGB
  • Opacity to 100%
  • Scale to 2
  • Blending to Add

As you make these adjustments, you will notice that the Texture layer has turned gray. Click OK to save your settings and then turn the Texture layer’s blend mode to Linear Light.

Step 4: Mask Out The Details

While still in the texture layer, select the mask icon from the right-side panel holding the Alt (OPTION on MAC) key.

Then from the Toolbar, set the background color to black and the foreground to white.


Select a brush tool from the Toolbar and set it to a soft level. You can keep the Opacity to 30%-40% and hardness to 30% or below.

Then start to paint the areas on the subject’s skin for retouching. Go over the areas that show too many lines or everything is standing out way too much.

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Tutorial 3: How To Smooth Skin In Photoshop

Sometimes, the camera ends up capturing more details of the skin than it should. As a result, wrinkles, lines, pores, and skin textures become more visible. And trust me, no matter how “natural look” confident you are, the extreme visibility of those things can make you feel otherwise. On top of that, if the photo is meant for magazines, posters, or any important project or presentation, you cannot use these raw images.

But the good thing is Photoshop offers various tools and methods to remove these wrinkles and lines or lower their visibility to improve the overall appearance. And if you are looking for a way to remove these imperfections and smoothen the skin, you can follow this tutorial.

But the good thing is Photoshop offers various tools and methods to remove these wrinkles and lines or lower their visibility to improve the overall appearance. And if you are looking for a way to remove these imperfections and smoothen the skin, you can follow this tutorial.

Read More:- How To Resize An Image In Photoshop

Step 2: Duplicate And Create A New Layer

Saving your work is important, and that is why it is always necessary to create a duplicate layer each time you make any changes to your edited photos. So I suggest you do the same here.

You can duplicate the layer from the layer panel on the light or just press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC) to use shortcuts. If you already have a pre-made duplicate layer for an image you are working on, you can create a new empty layer to edit the image.

Step 3: Select The Clone Stamp Tool 

Since the purpose here is to smoothen out the skin to look natural, you will use something that won’t make it look “too much”. And the best way to achieve that is to use the Clone Stamp Tool.

You will find the tool on the Toolbar on the left side of the screen and select it.

Step 4: Adjust The Tool Settings

Adjust the tool’s settings to keep the hardness around 30% or lower. And the Opacity should be between 40% to 50%. You can adjust these settings from the newly opened option bar right under the menu bar.

And make sure to change the setting on Sample by clicking on the extended option and selecting Current & Below.

Step 5: Smooth Out The Skin

With everything ready, now it’s time to smoothen the area with the Clone Stamp Tool. Press and hold the Alt key (OPTION on MAC) and click on an area near the skin area you want to fix. Remember to hold the Alt (OPTION on MAC) key the entire time.

Doing this will change the cursor’s shape, and it will pick a smoother area from the other parts of the face. And then, release the Alt key (COMMAND on MAC) and move the cursor over the areas you want to smoothen in a painting motion.

Retouch the skin until all the uneven areas have become smooth. You can also use this to retouch other areas, like stray hair. 

Read More:- How To Use Paint Bucket Tool In Photoshop

Tutorial 4: How To Make Face Look Thin/Wide With Photoshop

Retouching skin in photos is not just about removing skin flaws like scars, blemishes, and wrinkles and decreasing texture sharpness. Sometimes, it also requires adding and removing shadows to make the subject’s face appear thinner or wider. It mostly depends on how the photo appeared and how you want to change the raw version.

Here is the step-by-step guide to help you.

Step 1: Setup A New Layer

If you have edited an image to retouching skin using the methods I have mentioned so far, you already have an image ready for the final touch. Now, all you have to do is set up a new layer to do the next tasks.

You can create a new layer from the layer panel on the right and rename it. Then go to the Edit panel from the top menu bar and select Fill from the drop-down menu. When the dialog box appears, change the Content setting to 50% and click OK.

After that, make sure to set the blend mode of the layer to Soft Light.

Step 2: Darken Some Areas

Select the Burn Tool from the Toolbar and change the tool’s Range to Midtones and Opacity to 50%.

You can keep the brush size slightly large. Then work on the sides of the face to add contouring by painting over the chin area to make the face appear thinner.

You can also add contour on the sides of the nose or the bridge to make the nose look sharper. If some areas appear too bright, you can just lower the tool’s opacity level and paint over the areas.

Read More:- How To Make Transparent Background In Photoshop

Step 3: Lighten Some Areas

For lightening certain facial areas or making them wider, you can choose the Dodge Tool.

Then adjust the tool’s setting the same way you did with the Burn Tool. And to widen the facial structure, paint over the upper cheekbone area and the bridge of the nose. It will help highlight the areas and make the facial structure appear slightly wider.

Read More:- How to Create a Realistic Drop Shadow?

Tips For Skin Retouch In Photoshop

The secret behind skin retouch in Photoshop is not the only way to bring perfection to portraits. You can make everything more flawless only if you know which parts of the edits can offer more perfection. So here are some tips you should remember when retouching skin in Photoshop, especially if you are a beginner.

  • Use Softer Brushes

Whether you are applying the Healing Brush Tool, Clone Tool, or Frequency Separation, it is best to use a softer brush option. Using a harsher or too sharp brush does the opposite of smoothening or blending uneven tones.

  • Pay Attention To Minor Imperfections 

Too much facial stray hair, eyebags, or dark eye circles are distractions. The same goes for even the tiniest pimple or acne on the face. So make sure you don’t ignore them. Using the airbrush tool often helps fix these tiniest imperfections.

  • Go Easy When Performing Frequency Separation

The frequency separation technique in Photoshop helps even out the skin tone. It also helps make the complexion stand out. But if you are not careful, you may end up perfecting the skin so much that it will appear too fake. That is why it is necessary to go easy when performing frequency separation. 

  • Don’t Paint Over Blemishes 

It is okay to remove spots and blemishes to create a more presentable look. But when you keep painting over blemishes, the skin looks too well-polished to be real. And that is why it is best not to paint over the blemishes. Just go on painting around them and keep them more natural.

  • Work Gently On Under Eye Area

One of the crucial parts of skin retouch edits is the eye area or undereye area. You must be very precise when fixing the area around the eyes so that you do not erase the undereye lines altogether. 

  • Eliminate Unwanted Skin Shades

Digital retouching often fails to retouch the skin shade accurately. As an editor, your job is to ensure you get the right shade where necessary. For example, if you are working on brown skin, the skin shade color should be beige.

  • Don’t Overdo Skin Correction

Keeping the skin color natural is vital because you would not want the face to appear fake or the editing looks too much. So be gentle with the tools you are using to correct the skin color and tone. 

Last but not least, whenever you are working on skin retouching, don’t forget to pay attention to the background. If the background appears too dull or too much compared to the subject’s complexion or overall tone, you can just change it.

Conclusion

Editing raw images for skin retouch is not always mandatory. However, it is important if the photos are for presentation and should be eye-catching. That’s why knowing how to retouch skin in Photoshop can be useful.

If you have read the entire article, you now know multiple ways to retouch skin to glam it up and make the images more presentable. And if you are a newbie, I suggest you keep practicing until you improve your skill to do it more professionally.

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