Do you want to know how to change hair color in Photoshop? Using photoshop is a great way to preview a new hairstyle. This program can save you time in choosing how you want to dye your hair.

But getting a realistic representation of a new hair color is not easy. It requires a solid understanding of a few photoshop tools. In this article, you can begin to learn how to change hair color in photoshop. The steps below will teach you everything you need to know.

Create an Adjustment Layer

Begin by opening your image in Photoshop. Once you have, your first step is to create a new adjustment layer. 

This is relatively simple to do. In the bottom right corner of the layers panel, you will find a circular icon. This icon is half filled in. Click on it to open the adjustment layers menu.

There will be several options you can choose from. The option you want is called “hue/saturation.” Selecting this option will create a hue saturation adjustment layer. Using this kind of layer permits you to create a selective color effect. That is exactly what you are looking for when changing hair color in photoshop.

Check the Colorize Box

After creating a hue/saturation adjustment layer, a dialogue box will open. Within that adjustment layer dialogue box, there is a checkbox labeled “Colorize.” 

By default, this box is unchecked. For the sake of changing hair color, you need to check the colorize box. This sets the layer into the correct mode for altering colors.

You will also notice three adjustment sliders above that checkbox. These sliders are what you will use to change the hair color in your image. The next section will tell you how.

Select the Hair Color You Want

The three adjustment sliders are a hue slider, saturation slider, and the lightness slider. Working in that order, you can select a new hair color.

At first, you will notice that moving those sliders will change the color of the entire image. For now, don’t worry about that. In the following sections, you will see how to limit that color change to the hair alone.

At this stage, focus on getting the hair color you desire. You will find that the three sliders give you a lot of control.

woman with purple hair

Use the Fill Tool to Make the Adjustment Layer Mask Black

One of the benefits of adjustment layers is that they automatically come with a layer mask. Manipulating the new layer mask is how you can return the non-hair potions of your photo back to normal. Here is how to do that.

Select your hue/saturation adjustment layer in the layers panel. Look closely at the name of that layer. Just to the left of the name, you will find a rectangle. This rectangle represents the adjustment layer mask. Click that rectangle to select the layer mask.

By default, the new layer mask is filled with white. The rectangle representing the layer mask shows this. Alter this by filling the layer mask with black. 

Once you do this, you will see your original photo as it appears with no color alterations. Now it is time to bring the altered color back to the hair you want to change. The goal is to maintain the normal colors in the rest of the photo.

Paint with the Brush Tool

At this stage, you should be looking at a photo that looks just like your original. Now it is time to bring back the color you chose for the hair. To do that, you will need to select the brush tool.

Once you have the brush too equipped, set the brush color to white. Then proceed to paint over the hair in the photo.

You will see that as you paint, the new hair color you chose appears. Paint carefully so that you are only painting the hair. This ensures that the rest of the image will maintain its normal color.

At times it can be difficult to stay within the outline of the hair. There are ways to make this easier. Firstly, you can always alter the size of your brush. With a smaller brush, you can paint the detailed areas of the hair.

It’s likely there are also parts of the hair that are not as solid as others. Usually, the areas where there are individual strands of hair are the hardest to paint. Using your brush in these areas can produce an unnatural look. The blocks of color will not create a realistic appearance.

There is a remedy for this. When you are painting the edges of the hair, alter the opacity of your brush. Doing so gives you the capacity to use a soft touch as you refine your hair color. This will make the difference between the hair and the surrounding imagery less stark. As a result, your hair color change will look more natural. 

Once you have successfully used the brush tool to change your hair color in photoshop, you can fine-tune your edit.

blue hair

Adjusting the Opacity

Altering the opacity of the adjustment layer mask is another way to fine-tune your hair color. Lowering the opacity will make the hair color change more subtle. Raising the opacity makes it stand out more.  For your purposes, this will give you an idea of how intense of a color change you want for your hair. 

Altering the Blend Mode

When it is time to fine-tune your hair color change, there are a few tools you can use. The first is the blend mode of the adjustment layer.

First, make sure that you have the adjustment layer selected. In the layers panel, you will find a dropdown menu to the left of the opacity control. This dropdown will say “Normal” at first. This indicated a normal blend mode. But there are many additional options.

Choosing a different blend mode can make your hair color change more believable. Explore the options in the blend mode drop-down menu to see what looks best to you. Options like “soft light” are great for changing hair color in photoshop.

Using the Refine Edge Tool

Using the refine edge tool is another way to make your hair color change in photoshop look more impressive.

To do this, select the area of hair. This selection does not need to be perfect. Then it is time to find the refine edge tool. It is located in the “Select” menu. Clicking the “Select and Mask” option will open the refine edge dialog box. 

Altering the settings in that dialog box can improve the appearance of the edges of the hair. This move can go a long way in improving the quality of your hair color change.

Creating Multiple Streaks in Hair

Sometimes you want to be a bit more creative as you imagine new hair colors. With photoshop, you can preview a lot of interesting looks. This includes creating colorful streaks in your hair.

Create Several Adjustment Layers

The process of making hair streaks is essentially an expanded version of the steps needed to change hair color in general. All you need to do is make multiple adjustment layers instead of just one. The number of adjustment layers you make will depend on how many different colored streaks you want.

Paint Streaks in the Hair

Now that you have made multiple adjustment layers use the same layer mask changes as before. 

You can set different colors on different layers. Then fill the layer masks with black as you did before. On each layer, begin painting with white. As you paint streaks with the brush tool on each layer, the color of that layer will appear on the hair. 

couple in front of mural

How Do You Darken Hair in Photoshop?

Once you know the general process to change hair color in photoshop, making hair darker is easy.

Recall the earlier steps where you adjusted the three sliders in the hue saturation adjustment layer. The lightness slider will be the most essential when darkening hair.

To darken hair, simply slide the lightness slider to the dark end. This will darken the entire photo like before. Proceed through the rest of the steps like you normally would to ensure that only the hair becomes darker.

How Do I Lighten My Hair Color in Photoshop?

Lightening your hair is basically the same as darkening your hair. The only difference is in how you use the lightness slider. Instead of sliding it to the dark end on the left, slide it to the light end on the right. Then follow the steps as usual.

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