How to change hair color in Paint Shop Pro so it looks natural and realistic.

In this tutorial we will learn how to change hair color using Paint Shop Pro. I have received numerous requests about how to change hair color so it looks natural.

There are many tutorials out there that teach you how to change hair color, however, many of the final results often look unrealistic and unnatural. During this tutorial you will learn how to get that natural look by using Paint Shop Pro’s curves tool. After you complete this tutorial you should be able too easily turn dark hair to blond, blonde to brunette, brunette to red, etc, etc,. As always thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, or want to provide feedback, feel free to do so in the comments sections.

Final Previews

Video Preview

You can use this video as reference if you like. The video is a complete makeover with the same hair change color process used in this tutorial.

Step 1

Outline the hair using the Freehand Selection tool, and set the selection type to Point to Point (or your preferred selection type).

NOTE: The selection of the hair doesn’t have to be perfect around the ends, just make sure you select it all. We will be using a softened eraser brush later in the tutorial to blend the hair.

Step 2

With the selection complete, go to Selections > Modify > Feather, and feather the pixels to around 5 or 6.

Step 3

Right Click the background layer in the layers palette, and select Promote Selection to Layer. Now, press Ctrl + D on your keyboard to deselect the selection.

Optional: If you want to experiment later  with several different color tones, I suggest duplicating this layer several times. To duplicate a layer just Right Click the “promoted selection” layer in the layers palette and select duplicate.

Step 4

Next, with the “promoted selection” layer selected, go to Brightness & Contrast > Curves. The curves tool essentially allows you to remap brightness values uniformly by placing a point on a curve, and adjusting it accordingly. You can adjust RGB values combined, or individually using the channel drop down box. For this tutorial, we will keep it simple. We will adjust only the RGB channel on the curves histogram. To do this, simply place a point on the in the middle of the curve by left clicking, and slowly drag the curve towards the top left to make the selection lighter. To darken the selection you will pull the point slightly to the bottom right.

Note: The curves method is great for natural colored hair, you can easily turn dark hair to blond hair, or blond hair to dark hair. However, if you want to use more unnatural colors such as Blue, Purple, Green, and Bright Red, I would suggest substituting the curves tool for the colorize tool in this step. To access the colorize tool go to Adjust > Hue & Saturation > Colorize, and adjust the hue and saturation accordingly.

Step 5

Finally, with the “promoted selection” layer selected, select the Eraser tool and use the following settings in the image below. Make several passes on the hair and the hair edges until it has a natural look. The ends of the hair will probably need several more passes to allow them to blend to the persons clothes, or with the background.


Experiment by lowering the opacity of the “promoted selection” (hair selection) layer, and/or changing the blend modes types. Also you can duplicate the original selection as I mentioned earlier in this tutorial, and experiment with many different colors and tones.