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What Are the Best Tips for Retouching Hair?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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The best tips for retouching hair are to use healing and blurring tools sparingly, erase fly-aways, and recolor mismatched roots. There is only so much a professional photo editor can do to hair without making it blurry or muddy-looking. Some popular editing tools, like healing and blurring tools, should rarely be used because they smudge together individual hair strands, making the hair look like one piece. One thing editors can do is erase fly-aways, frizzy strands, and the occasional out-of-place curl. In addition, if the subject’s hair is obviously dyed because of his or her mismatched roots, the roots should be fixed to match the rest of the subject’s hair.

A common mistake that occurs when retouching hair is blurring or healing the strands. These tools should not be used unless absolutely necessary. They usually cause the hair to look as if it has been fused together and is one piece rather than thousands of strands. Using blurring or healing tools when retouching hair is a good way to make a photo look unrealistic. Even if viewers cannot point out exactly what is wrong with the picture, they often know something is odd about the subject.

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Everyone’s hair has uneven strands because hair falls out and grows in cycles. A high quality photo of someone with hair almost always captures stray strands and fly-aways that were not previously noticed. A professional photo editor can zoom in and carefully delete these extra bits. Like all things editing, he or she needs to be cautious to avoid deleting something that adds to the realism of the photo. For example, a stray bit of hair that fell into the subject’s face and obscured one of his or her eyes is likely crucial to the photo.

Digitally redyeing hair roots is an easy way of retouching hair to make the subject look more professional. In addition, it is one of the easiest retouches to perform and is rarely time consuming or difficult to reverse should the editor make a mistake. This retouch should be done after removing fly-aways and other strands of stray hair. It is important to match the hair color of the rest of the hair, but not blur the roots or make them blend into the scalp too much. Of course, digitally redyeing hair roots is not necessary unless the roots are obvious; photos that are not closeups usually do not have problems with undyed roots showing.

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