Skip the Dye Job; Edit Hair Color in Photoshop

Ever wonder what you would look like as a redhead? Instead of going down to Rite Aid and spending $14.99 on a messy hair dye kit, why not opt for something less permanent and just spend $423 on an Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection?

Through some Internet browsing, I found an easy way to edit hair color using Adobe Photoshop CS5. If any of you have pictures of people in Phase I of your Photo Essay and need a way to manipulate them for Phase II, here’s your chance.

I experimented with this method using a picture of the one and only Michael C. Hall (of Dexter fame) with his natural, magnificent ginger beard, and attempted to match his beard color with his hair color.

To adjust the hair color of your photo –

  •  First open up the picture in Photoshop, and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
  •  Upon selecting the Hue/Saturation layer, you will see a tiny box called ‘Colorize’ to the right of the three eyedroppers – select that, and then your entire photo will turn a shade of red (regardless of what hair color you are trying to achieve, it was only ironic in my case because I was trying to turn him full ginger).

  • Next, adjust the ‘Hue’ setting until you find the color you want to change the hair color in the image to; once you find that, adjust ‘Saturation’ to alter the intensity. This will alter the color of your entire image, but don’t worry – that will be rectified later.
  • The next step is simple, but the concept is quite complicated; just click ‘Ctrl + Backspace’ on a Windows computer or ‘Command + Delete’ on a Mac to change the layer background to black. This gets rid of the colorization, which we will now bring back to the area where we want it – the hair!

  • Making sure your foreground color is white, select the brush tool and begin to paint over the hair in your image to get the colorization you chose back. You can adjust the opacity of the brush to take care of any strands that might be difficult to paint over.

  • Now, Michael is more noticably ginger! Happy dye-ing!