How to Add Virtual Makeup in Digital Photo Retouching

A blog post on the concept of virtual makeup and how to add that virtual glow to the digital photographs using photo retouching.

Add Virtual Makeup Using Digital Photo Retouching


Photography is a passionate hobby for millions of people. Many of them get so involved that they turn it into a full-time career. As people love keeping memories, the need for good photographers is always going to exist.


There are many different ways of earning money as a photographer, but to earn serious money, it is necessary to focus on creating astonishing portrait photos. They are necessary to master in wedding photography, urban photography, stock photography, fashion photography, and many other directions which a photographer might choose.


But, to make those photos really shine, it is also necessary to master your knowledge in photo retouching. If you want to reduce the expenses of outsourcing this process to a company which offers photo retouching services, it is best to learn more about Photoshop and other similar programs.


Let’s take a look at a great way of making any portrait look better by editing or adding makeup in your photos.

Analyzing the photo


To begin, it is necessary to run an analysis and see what is wrong with the image, that is, the makeup in the image. This is going to give you a clear set of goals that you should perform. To keep everything in check, get a sheet of paper, or a text taking software and note down all the particularities that you wish to correct, to make the image more appealing.

The most usual problems with makeup are:

  • Hitting the right makeup base for an even skin tone is very hard to achieve.
  • Sun is a factor that can affect the state of makeup, which might require correction in post processing.
  • Consistency across the face is rarely pulled off. There are areas of the face where makeup is not well applied.
  • The overall makeup color differs from the person’s skin and hair tone.


These are some key things that you should be focusing on during the Analyzation phase. It will paint the right idea about the steps you should take. After taking the notes down, you should start thinking about the goals you wish to achieve.

Know your goals

For a majority of portrait photos, getting the eyes right is the main goal, as they have the highest impact on the photo’s viewer. Therefore, making the eyes stand out should always be your primary goal.


Besides eyes, it is necessary to think about the other elements as well, which are colors and tones, facial smoothness, shadows, and lighting. Once you know your goals, you can start working on the things you wish to change.

Take care of the basics first

The software tool with the most capabilities is Photoshop. Therefore, this guide will use the tools from this program.


To start, it is necessary to make sure that the subject of the image is centered well, and is the primary focus. Depending on the framing of the photo, you can rely on crop and rotation tools to highlight the model. To keep everything under control, create a double of the original photo, and press control-T to make all the necessary basic rotation adjustments.


Beauty is directly related to the symmetry of a person’s face. A great Photoshop tool that allows you to make minor facial adjustments is Liquefy. With it, you can make the model’s face more symmetrical.


For example, a shadow can be foundin some parts of the nose, and by smoothly using the Liquefy tool, you can remove the shadow and present the nose in a more symmetrical way. Additionally, this tool is great to use for the model’s neckline. But, make sure that you are very modest with this tool because overdoing these adjustments will make your model look completely different than in real life.

Smoothing the face


Now, the next step is taking care of smaller details such as freckles, acne, eye veins and facial hair. This is best performed with the Healing Brush tool and with the Stamp Tool. This is important to do before taking the next step of making a face look smoother.


Creating smooth skin involves the usage of Gaussian Blur, which lets you smooth the skin and keep the original tone, color, and texture of the image. It makes a great impact on how the model looks, as the face becomes completely smooth.

Move on to adding makeup


To know what you are doing, it is necessary to conduct online research and understand why makeup is applied to the face anyway. The overall goal is to express certain features of the face while also hiding others. This is achieved by playing with darker and lighter shades. The darker ones serve to put an accent on the person’s bone structure, whereas the lighter ones are perfect for highlighting the best facial features a person has.


For example, create a new layer and set it to soft lights. This is the layer that will allow you to paint a lighter skin tone. You are going to be using a Soft Round Brush to achieve this goal. Then, make another layer, but with a Linear burn instead of soft light, and use a different color, such as muted purple, to accent the cheekbones.


When it comes to eyes, creating a Smokey eye is very important, as people are used to seeing this in magazines. Pick a Hard Round Brush and, like with the face, go with a muted purple color to achieve this effect.


Lipstick is an important part. To create one, you will need to create another layer and use the Hard Round Brush once again. Use the Linear Burn setting when creating the layer. Red is the color that lets the eyes pop; therefore, you can use that color.


These are some of the tips to add makeup to your photo models easily. To get the best results, it is necessary to understand how makeup is applied. This will point you in the right direction when you are using Photoshop to add it digitally.

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