How to Add Lipstick in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool, perfect for photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists. One of the many things you can do with this software is enhance or modify the appearance of subjects in your photographs. In this tutorial, we will be focusing on adding lipstick to a portrait using Photoshop. With a little practice, you’ll be able to give your subjects the perfect lip color and finish, taking your portraits to the next level.

Preparation: Setting Up Your Workspace

Before we dive into adding lipstick in Photoshop, let’s make sure your workspace is set up correctly:

  • Open the portrait image you want to work with in Photoshop.
  • Duplicate the background layer by right-clicking on it and selecting “Duplicate Layer” or using the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + J.
  • Name the duplicated layer “Lipstick” to keep your workspace organized.

Selection: Isolating the Lips

To add lipstick to your subject, you’ll first need to isolate the lips. There are several tools in Photoshop that can help you with this task:

  • Quick Selection Tool (W): This tool is perfect for making rough selections quickly. Click and drag over the lips to create a selection. You can add or remove parts of the selection by holding down the Shift key (to add) or the Alt/Option key (to subtract).
  • Pen Tool (P): This tool allows you to create a precise path around the lips. Once you’ve traced the lips, right-click and choose “Make Selection” to convert the path into a selection.
  • Magnetic Lasso Tool (L): This tool automatically snaps to the edges of the lips as you trace around them. It’s a great option if the lips have a strong contrast with the surrounding area.
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After creating a selection of the lips, refine the selection by choosing “Select and Mask” from the Select menu or by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + R. Adjust the settings in the Properties panel to fine-tune your selection and click “OK” when you’re satisfied.

Creating a Solid Lip Color

With the lips selected, it’s time to add some color:

  • Create a new layer above the “Lipstick” layer and name it “Solid Color.”
  • Choose a lipstick color by clicking on the Foreground Color in the Tools panel. You can use the Color Picker or input a specific color code.
  • Fill the selection with the chosen color using the Paint Bucket Tool (G) or by pressing Alt/Option + Backspace.

Adding a Gradient for a More Natural Look

A solid color may look unnatural, so let’s add some depth and dimension by applying a gradient:

  • Create a new layer above the “Solid Color” layer and name it “Gradient.”
  • With the lips still selected, choose the Gradient Tool (G) and pick a suitable gradient preset, or create your own by clicking on the Gradient Editor.
  • Draw a gradient from the center of the lips outward, following the natural shape and contour. Experiment with different angles and lengths until you achieve a natural and pleasing result.

Applying Texture to Mimic Real Lipstick

To create a realistic lipstick effect, we’ll need to add some texture:

  • Find a high-resolution lipstick texture image or create your own using a close-up photo of real lipstick.
  • Import the texture image into your Photoshop document by going to File > Place Embedded or by simply dragging the image into the workspace.
  • Scale and position the texture over the lips, making sure it covers the entire lip area. Press Enter/Return to confirm the transformation.
  • Change the layer name to “Texture” and create a clipping mask by right-clicking on the layer and selecting “Create Clipping Mask” or using the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + G. This will ensure the texture only affects the lip area.
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Adjusting Opacity and Blending Modes

Now, let’s blend the color, gradient, and texture layers together for a more natural and realistic lipstick effect:

  • Experiment with different blending modes for the “Solid Color” and “Gradient” layers. Some popular options are Multiply, Overlay, and Soft Light. Adjust the layer opacity to control the intensity of the effect.
  • For the “Texture” layer, try using blending modes such as Multiply, Overlay, or Linear Light to achieve the desired texture effect. Again, adjust the layer opacity to control the intensity.

Final Touches: Cleanup and Sharpening

With the lipstick applied, it’s time to clean up any imperfections and add some finishing touches:

  • Create a new layer above all the other layers and name it “Cleanup.”
  • Use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) or the Healing Brush Tool (J) to fix any smudges, stray colors, or imperfections in the lip area.
  • Merge all the lipstick layers (Solid Color, Gradient, Texture, and Cleanup) into a single layer by selecting them and pressing Ctrl/Cmd + E.
  • To sharpen the lip area and make the lipstick pop, duplicate the merged lipstick layer, then go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Adjust the Radius to a low value (around 2-4 pixels) and click “OK.”
  • Change the blending mode of the High Pass layer to Overlay, Soft Light, or Linear Light, depending on your preference. Adjust the layer opacity if necessary.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully added lipstick in Photoshop, enhancing the look of your portrait. With this new skill, you can experiment with different colors, gradients, and textures to create stunning and captivating images. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to try new techniques and push your creativity. Happy Photoshopping!

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