Photoshop Tutorial: Advanced Techniques for Selecting Hair

Hair is one of the most challenging elements to select in Photoshop, as it often blends seamlessly with the background and can be very fine and delicate. However, with the right techniques, you can easily create smooth, accurate selections of hair in your images.

In this tutorial, we’ll cover:

  • Using the Quick Selection tool
  • Refining edges with the Select and Mask workspace
  • Using the Refine Edge Brush tool
  • Painting hair using a custom brush

Step 1: Open the image

Start by opening the image that you want to select the hair from. In this tutorial, we’ll be using a portrait image of a woman with long hair.

Step 2: Make a rough selection with the Quick Selection tool

The Quick Selection tool is a great starting point for selecting hair. It works by automatically identifying and selecting similar colors in the image.

To use the Quick Selection tool, simply click and drag around the area of hair that you want to select. The tool will automatically add to the selection as you go.

Step 3: Refine the selection with the Select and Mask workspace

Once you have a rough selection, you can refine it further using the Select and Mask workspace. To open the Select and Mask workspace, go to Select > Select and Mask.

The Select and Mask workspace provides a variety of tools and options for refining selections, including:

  • View Mode: This allows you to change how the selection is displayed. For hair, it is usually best to use On Black or Overlay.
  • Refine Edge: This tool allows you to adjust the softness and feather of the selection edges.
  • Smart Radius: This tool automatically adjusts the radius of the selection based on the content of the image.
  • Refine Edge Brush: This tool allows you to manually paint around the edges of the selection to fine-tune it.

Step 4: Use the Refine Edge Brush tool

The Refine Edge Brush tool is a powerful tool for refining selections of hair. To use it, simply click and drag around the edges of the selection. As you drag, the brush will adjust the edge of the selection to match the surrounding hair.

Step 5: Paint in hair using a custom brush

If there are any areas of the hair that still need to be selected, you can paint them in using a custom brush. To do this, create a new layer and paint on the layer with a brush that has a similar texture to the hair.

Hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key as you paint to sample the color of the hair from the image. This will ensure that the hair blends seamlessly with the rest of the image.


  • Use a higher resolution image for better results.
  • Work with a small brush size for fine-tuning the selection.
  • Use a soft brush for blending the selection.
  • Be patient and take your time. Selecting hair can be time-consuming, but it is worth it for a perfect result.


By following these techniques, you can easily create smooth, accurate selections of hair in Photoshop. With practice, you’ll be able to select hair with the precision of a professional retoucher.