Beauty Retouching, Efficiency & Productivity, Video Tutorial

A Fast Way To Remove Stray and Body Hair

In today’s RA Quick Tip I’d like to share my favorite way to quickly clean up the outline of the neck and shoulders from stray and body hair.

I am a big fan of getting everything right in camera as I shoot, but this seems to be one of the little issues that often still need to be taken care of in post-production. I usually deal with this part of an image after the skin and makeup are cleaned up.

Main Points:

  • I add a new layer;
  • Make a relatively precise selection of the hair that I’d like to remove along the outline of the neck, head and shoulders with the Polygonal Lasso tool – my personal favorite selection tool;
  • Match the softness of my selection to the softness of the outline that I am aiming to clean up from the hair with the Refine Edge tool;
  • I typically only adjust the Feathering and Contrast sliders to get the selection edge as soft or sharp as I need it for a specific task;
  • I keep the Smooth slider at the same position most of the time; it will mainly be helpful when you have sharp corners that you want to soften in your selection, or need to straighten out a wobbly line;
  • And I will only use the Shift Edge slider if I did not do a good job at selecting the outline precisely.
  • If I am working on a dark image I will usually have my View Mode set to “On White”, and “On Black” for a bright image;
  • I always have the Remember Settings option at the bottom of the Refine Edge dialog window checked, so I don’t have to start over every time I need to adjust a selection. Because I work with female faces most of the time my base Refine Edge settings are usually very similar for different images;
  • Once the edge of my selection is adjusted I will pick up the Clone Stamp tool at about 100% Opacity and Flow somewhere between 30% to 70% depending on the background behind the hair that I am removing;
  • The more uniform the color of the background is, the higher the Flow percentage I can select;
  • I also prefer to work with Custom Brush tips and for this specific task I prefer a brush tip that is not too soft, so I don’t soften the background texture, but also not too hard as a hard edged brush may make it difficult to avoid leaving residual brush strokes in the areas that I worked on;
  • I sometimes use Adjustment layers and Clipping masks to adjust the brightness of the cleaned up areas.
  • Sometimes, after the messy stray hair has been removed I paint in hair strands to make the areas around the model’s head appear more realistic.

RELATED: How to Cut Out Hair Quickly in Photoshop

The beauty of this setup is that I can work right along the outline of the neck (or body) and not worry about getting over onto the neck (or body), so I can work very fast. I also don’t need to spend any extra time fine-tuning the new outline after I removed the messy hair, as I can quickly adjust the sharpness and precision of my selection before I get down to cleaning it up.

I have been using this approach for years, and I love it as it is a huge time saver, while I have a lot of control over the process.

I hope you find it helpful as well.

Till next time!

Marianna_1_0112-390 HAIR video AFTER jk

Please watch in HD and full screen for details:

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2 thoughts on “A Fast Way To Remove Stray and Body Hair

  1. Ulrich Hilbel says:

    Awesome! Love quick tips! And that format is great so you get a good overview of what is going on!

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