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This tutorial will walk you step-by-step through the process of adding lip color in Photoshop. Plus, download a free action to use on your own photos! | Find more photography tips and Photoshop tutorials at


Adding Lip Color in Photoshop


Every now and then, I like to play around with adding color during post processing. Granted, it’s not an editing technique that’s entirely necessary to use, but sometimes you just have an image that could use a little extra pop! Today, we’re going to discuss adding lip color in Photoshop.

Step 1.

The first step is to click the Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of your layers panel. From the panel that pops up afterward, you’re going to select ‘Solid Color’.





Step 2.

Once you select ‘Solid Color’, a box labeled ‘Color Picker’ will pop up. Use this box to select the color you wish to apply to your subject’s lips. I chose a red color. After selecting the color of your choice, hit OK.




Step 3.

Next, you’ll need to change the blend mode of this new color layer. Above your layers panel you should see a box that says, ‘Normal’. Click on the word ‘Normal’ and a panel should pop out. From the list, you’ll want to select ‘Soft Light’.

Step 4.

You’ll notice that your image is now visible but has the red tone covering the entire photo. We’ll use the layer mask that came along with this layer to remove it.

1. Be sure the layer mask is selected . To select the layer mask, simply click on the white box on your new layer.
2. Now we need to invert the mask. This simply means that we need to switch it to its opposite color, black. To do this, you can either use the ‘Invert’ button located inside of the ‘Properties’ tab, or you can simply use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + I ( Mac users: you can use Cmd + I )




Step 5.

Now that our mask is inverted (filled with black), we can begin preparing to paint the color onto the subject’s lips.

1. First, be sure that the black layer mask is selected. Click directly on the black mask to select it.
2. Select your Brush tool from the Tool panel.
3. Be sure that your foreground color (the color on top) is set to white. Since your mask is black, you’ll need to paint with the opposite color to reveal the red effect we’ve created.


Now you can begin painting! For this image, I left my brush opacity and flow both at 100%. You are welcome to turn either of these down for a more subtle effect. As you can see in the image below, I used a rather small brush to apply the color so that I could be sure there was no overspray of color anywhere else on her face. Using a smaller brush allows you to be more precise and fit into the smaller areas of the lip without coloring teeth or cheeks. If you happen to get some of the color in an area you don’t want it, all you have to do is switch your brush color to black and paint it off. Then switch your brush color back to white to begin painting the color on again.




Step 6. (Optional)

Once you have the lips entirely painted, you can turn down the appearance of the color by adjusting the opacity slider located in your Layers Panel.




That’s it! You can stop here if you are satisfied.


If you wish to change the color that you chose, simply double click the Color Thumbnail on your color layer.


After double clicking the thumbnail on your color layer, the Color Picker box will pop up again. You can now select a different color and you’ll see the color of the lips change in your image. To accept this new color, simply hit OK. If you change your mind about picking a new color, simply hit Cancel to return to the original tone you chose.


All done! Easy enough, right?

If you wish to shorten the steps of this process, you can download this action called Ruby Reds. You’ll still need to paint it on, but it will help you to avoid Steps 1-4 of this tutorial.

This action contains a few more layers than shown here in this tutorial, feel free to play around with them to achieve a softer or stronger effect.


PS. If you want to see how I edited this image using the Transcendent Actions, you can click here to watch this video tutorial.


Related Posts:

Rich, Creamy Edit Using the Transcendent Photoshop Actions
How to Install and Use Photoshop Actions
How to Use Paint-On Photoshop Actions

Looking to dive deeper into the world of Photoshop editing?

If you enjoyed this tutorial, I’d love to invite you to join me for my online Photoshop course, The Photoshop Fanatic. It’s an easy-to-follow, go-at-your-own-pace course that teaches Photoshop from the very beginning. It begins with a walk-through explanation of the various tools, layers, and filters in the program. You’ll learn what they are, how to use them, and then we’ll build on that knowledge, working our way up to achieving full, in-depth edits with ease.

To see if The Photoshop Fanatic Course is right for you, click here to read more about it.


This tutorial will walk you step-by-step through the process of adding lip color in Photoshop. Plus, download a free action to use on your own photos! | Find more photography tips and Photoshop tutorials at
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Morgan Burks - Manhattan, KS Family & Couples Portrait Photographer - Online Photoshop Education, Editing Tools, & Resources for Photographers

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