How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 01 1 Videos (1:06m)
  • 01 - Introduction to Cutting Out Hair
How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 02 9 Videos (2:12h)
  • 01 - Selecting Hair with Select Color Range
  • 02 - Painting Hair | The Brush Tool & Brush Settings
  • 03 - Painting Hair | Recreating Hair with the Brush Tool (Part 1)
  • 04 - Painting Hair | Recreating Hair with the Brush Tool (Part 2)
  • 05 - Custom Brushes | Creating a Custom Brush
  • 06 - Custom Brushes | Painting Hair with a Custom Brush
  • 07 - Advanced Selections with Channels
  • 08 - Select Focus Area & Select and Mask
  • 09 - Removing Color Fringe with Clipping Masks
How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop, Chapter 03 8 Videos (2:25h)
  • 01 - Cutting Out Straight Hair
  • 02 - Cutting Out Curly Hair
  • 03 - Cutting Out Hair on a Simple Background
  • 04 - Long Hair | Creating Advanced Custom Brushes
  • 05 - Long Hair | Complicated Background (Part 1)
  • 06 - Long Hair | Complicated Background (Part 2)
  • 07 - Facial Hair | Creating Advanced Custom Brushes
  • 08 - Facial Hair | Matching Hair Style & Texture
Home  >  PRO Tutorials  >  PRO Compositing  >  How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop



How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop


Retouchers and compositors all agree that selecting and cutting out hair can be a major challenge. It’s even harder when you’re new to Photoshop. With thousands of strands of hair going a hundred different directions, how can you possibly preserve all of that natural variation and detail?

In this tutorial, we show you everything you need to know to realistically cut out and paint hair in Photoshop. Learn to make quick selections using Select Color Range, make advanced selections with Channels, and paint in new, ultra-realistic hair with the Brush Tool. Whether your subject is rocking perfectly combed locks or a nasty case of bed head, the techniques in this tutorial will guarantee that you capture every strand, every time.

What’s Included

18 Video Tutorials   |   12 Sample Images   |   10 Custom Photoshop Brushes


Aaron Nace
Aaron Nace is the founder of PHLEARN and has spent the last 8 years teaching the world Photoshop.

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Cut Out Hair in Photoshop

Cutting out hair is tricky and it will often require multiple tools to get the job done right. We show you the tools that will help you preserve the most detail while creating a cut-out that will look fantastic on any background.

Cut Out Hair From Any Background

As if hair wasn’t difficult enough to cut out, a complicated background can make it even tougher. Learn to make perfect selections of hair on busy backgrounds and even backgrounds that match the color and tone of the hair.

Perfect Hair Masking

Looking at the Layer Mask will tell you a lot about how realistic your selection will look on a new background. If it has unnatural edges, it probably isn’t going to work. We show you how to sculpt a layer mask that will maintain all of the detail of every strand of hair.



Make Accurate Selections of Hair

Some our favorite selection tools, like the Pen Tool or Magic Wand Tool, just won’t cut it. Fortunately, there are some quick selection tools that will make cutting out hair a breeze. Learn to use Select Color Range and Channels to quickly and easily capture all the detail you need.

Tools & Tips for Any Type of Hair

Hair comes in countless varieties of shapes and colors. Straight hair? Easy. Curly hair? No problem. Dark hair on a dark background? We’ve got you covered. We walk you through several different situations and work through the challenges so you’ll feel confident in solving any creative problems that come your way.

Advanced Tools & Techniques

We cover a wide range of techniques that demonstrate how to select hair, cut out hair, and even paint in new hair in Photoshop. We take you through quick and easy methods that will work for certain images. Then we walk you through advanced techniques that will yield professional results, no matter how challenging the situation.



Paint Hair in Photoshop

For realistic results, cutting out hair will usually require painting in new hair to add and recreate details. We turn the Brush Tool inside-out, showing you every setting to create ultra-realistic looking hair – from single strands, to long flowing locks.

Custom Hair Brushes

Custom brushes make the process of painting hair easier and more convincing. We show you how to create custom brushes based off of the type of hair in a photo. Not only will the brushes match the shape, color, and contour of the original hair but they also have natural-looking variance and randomness.

Make Quick Selections

Selection tools can only do so much when cutting out hair in Photoshop. We show you tools that will allow you to make quick, accurate selections of your subject so that you can focus on creating a perfect cut-out of their hair.





Advanced Tools & Techniques

We cover a wide range of techniques that demonstrate how to select hair, cut out hair, and even paint in new hair in Photoshop. We take you through quick and easy methods that will work for certain images. Then we walk you through advanced techniques that will yield professional results, no matter how challenging the situation.

Remove Color Fringing

Matching light and color can make or break a composite image. Hair will often reflect a lot of the light and color from the original environment. Learn how to remove fringing and match colors so hair will look beautiful on any new background.

Clipping Masks

Clean cut-outs and selections will often need a lot of refinement as you work. Clipping Masks are an important tool for cleaning up edges without affecting an image as a whole. Learn to use clipping masks to repair color and remove color fringing in Photoshop.



Layer Masks

Layer Masks are the blueprint of your selection and the edges of a mask should contain just as much detail as the hair in the original photo. We show you how to use Layer Masks to guide and correct your work so that your final image looks natural and realistic.

The Brush Tool

The Brush Tool is one of the most versatile tools in Photoshop and this tutorial will show you exactly why that is. Learn to use the Brush Tool to paint in realistic hair, make adjustments to Layer Masks, and speed up your workflow with custom brushes and settings!

Brushes Included

Not only do we show you how to create your own custom brushes, but we include several brushes that will work beautifully for a variety of different hair styles and types. From coarse facial hair, to long soft locks, to the thick fur on a cat or dog.


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic tutorial about a challenging subject. I learned the most from the cutting out curly hair section in which one moves the mask with the marquee tool. I add to my fund of knowlege with each new course, even if I think I’ve learned it all before. Thanks so much to Aaron!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    This tutorial covered a lot of techniques that I wish I knew about when I have dome previous projects. One of these was ‘clipping masks’, which was something that would have helped me in so many other projects. Thanks Aaron!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve been waiting for a hair tutorial like this for years! I haven’t gone through all of it yet, but what I’ve seen so far has exceeded my expectations (which was high to begin). I used a couple of the techniques on one of my photos and it came out flawless! Great work PHLEARN and Aaron!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Love the tutorials and has helped to take my skills to the next level. The one thing that could be made better is if the table of contents were more descriptive in terms of what the lesson was specifically targeting instead of having to watch the introduction to the lesson. Thanks again for making such great videos!

    PHLEARN Staff
    Thanks for the suggestion, we are actually working on implementing that feature!
  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another fantastic tutorial. Aaron makes learning fun and easy. Thank you Aaron and your minions.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just crazy amazing I learned so many new techniques. Always something new to learn. Fantastic teacher thanks a million

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    If Aaron Nace isn’t nominated for a sainthood then he should at least be inducted into the Photoshop hall of fame. EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch a Phlearn tutorial my Photoshop skills go up another notch. #InsertPhotoOfAaronWithHaloAboveHeadHere.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another great tutorial, very thorough and detailed. Although, maybe it should have been called ‘How to Cut Out, and Create Hair in Photoshop’.


This tutorial includes 12 sample images, 10 custom brushes, and 18 video tutorials. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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If you need to learn the basics of Photoshop, we recommend watching the Photoshop Basics Collection and Photoshop 101-301 to familiarize yourself with all of the tools and capabilities that the software has to offer.

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