How to Remove Skin Highlights With Photoshop

Written by linda donahue
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How to Remove Skin Highlights With Photoshop
Removing skin highlights on digital images can be done with a little work in Photoshop. (face to face image by Melanie von Snarly from

Occasionally the perfect picture is ruined by whitish, glaring highlights on the subject's face. These skin highlights can be blended away with just a little work using tools in Photoshop. It takes practice to be able to remove the highlights smoothly, so that no one can tell. Fortunately, if your initial efforts are messy, you can undo your editing and start again. Practice will make you a pro.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open your digital picture in Photoshop. Under the pull-down menu for "View" select "Fit on Screen." If need be, select zoom. You want to be able to see the skin highlight large and clear.

  2. 2

    Select the airbrush tool from your tool bar. Once you've selected the airbrush tool, you'll have a box labelled "Brush" showing a circle, the size of the brush. Click on the arrow to see all the available brush sizes. Work with one of the smaller sizes for a more blended, less obviously airbrushed picture. Smaller brushes will take longer to cover the highlight, but the effect will be better.

  3. 3

    Position the brush cursor over a patch of skin close to the highlight that is the colour of skin you would rather have in place of the highlight. Now press the "alt" key while clicking the mouse. This sets the colour for the airbrush.

  4. 4

    Position the airbrush cursor over the highlight and simply click. The click deposited a circle of the corrected colour over the highlight. To cover the highlight you can either keep moving the cursor and clicking, or you can hold down the mouse button while you move the mouse, painting streaks across the highlight as you move. Cover the highlight with the correct skin colour.

  5. 5

    As an option and depending on the size of the highlight and its proximity to shaded areas, you may wish to add in other surrounding skin tones to create a more realistic tone. Simply "alt" click to set the new colours and bring them into the area. Practice and an artistic eye will help in creating a natural look.

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