Topics Map > Software Guides > Photoshop

Photoshop: Face Retouching

Version: Adobe Photoshop CC 2020. Be aware that different versions of Photoshop will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guides: Photoshop: Images, Photoshop: Graphic Design


When doing most face retouching, it’s important to create a new layer for edits so that the original image is not directly changed. Create a new layer prior to using most healing tools and ensure that “Sample All Layers” is checked in the Options Bar. Its also recommended to rename the layer appropriately, such as “Healing Brush Tool.” 

Spot Healing Brush Tool

spot healing brush icon

Use the Spot Healing Brush to quickly smooth out imperfections. The Spot Healing Brush blends the selected areas with the pixels immediately surrounding the cursor. It is a go-to tool for getting rid of unwanted blemishes or moles.



To use the Spot Healing Brush Tool:
  1. Click the Create New Layer button to the bottom-right of the Layers panel. 
  2. Select the Spot Healing Brush, which looks like a band-aid with some dots around it, from the Toolbar. 
  3. In the Options Bar, ensure “Sample All Layers” is checked.
  4. Change the size of the brush in the Options Bar. The brush should fit tightly around the area/blemish.
  5. Click the blemish, and it should disappear.
    • Alternatively, click-and-drag over the area to cover it.

Healing Brush Tool

healing brush tool icon

The Healing Brush tool fixes imperfections similar to the Spot Healing Brush. The Healing Brush tool, however, samples part of an image and then replicates it to the selected area, matching texture and lighting. Use the Healing Brush tool for more complicated retouching, such as wrinkles on faces or clothing.



To use the Healing Brush Tool:
  1. Click the Create new Layer button to the bottom-right of the Layers panel.
  2. Select the Healing Brush tool, which looks like a band-aid, from the Toolbar.
  3. In the Options Bar, ensure “Sample All Layers” is checked.
  4. Press and hold the Option key, and click the area to be sampled. It’s best to sample an area near the imperfection (but not too close) so that the texture/lighting will be accurate.
  5. Click-and-drag over the imperfection. A plus-sign icon (+) will appear over the area being sampled. The sampled area will move with the click-and-drag, so pay close attention to where the sampling icon appears to avoid replicating an unwanted part of the image.

Layer Opacity

Retouching photos can make faces and skin look unnatural. Lowering the opacity of the retouching layer can lessen this unwanted side-effect. See Photoshop: Layering & Object Arrangement for more details about layers.

To change the opacity of a layer:
  1. Select the layer in the Layers panel.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to Opacity, which is set to 100% by default. Click and drag the slider to the desired position. Alternatively, type a percentage in the box. Changes will be made to the layer automatically.


Guide Index:


iTech logo
Need support? Contact itech@plu.edu or visit www.plu.edu/itech.




Keywords:editing, images, photos, graphics, healing, face retouching. blemish   Doc ID:86739
Owner:Misty B.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2018-10-12 12:59 PDTUpdated:2020-09-25 13:32 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
Feedback:  0   0