Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CoffeeShop "Pretty Makeup" Photoshop/PSE Action!

Today I am really excited to post my newest free retouching action, "Pretty Makeup".  This is a really handy action that you run on a portrait that is already edited and just needs a bit of makeup to make it perfect.  This action allows you to add custom powder, blush, lipstick, mascara, highlight hair, smooth skin, enhance eyes, and even whiten teeth and eye whites.  Every layer is completely adjustable and your makeup application can be as subtle or dramatic as you wish.

I have quite a few different retouching actions (if you want them all in one simple organized download and help support this blog you can check out my action download pack) and I think "Pretty Makeup" is a valuable addition to your editing toolbox.  If you have purchased my action download within the last two years and want my newest version which is bigger and better :-), just visit here and email me and I will send you my newest version for free.  Thanks to your generous support I can keep everyone here on my blog free!

To add each type of makeup you must paint it in using layer masks.  I am going to show you how I edited this portrait of a little girl.  I have overdone the makeup in my tutorial because I wanted you to be able to see a difference on your screen.  I personally prefer a more subtle edit, especially in children. However, if I were editing a photo of myself I would use a heavier hand.  ;-)

I used this really cute image from Pixabay for this tutorial.  But there are so many amazing free photos over there including Jill Wellington's images.

CoffeeShop "Pretty Makeup" Action Tutorial:

Open a portrait that you have already edited that needs a bit of makeup.

Run the action.  It will prompt you to smooth the skin.  You can overdo this step as you will paint it in and can control the amount later.

Your image will look unchanged after the action finishes and you can start painting on the layer masks to add makeup.  I usually start at the bottom and work my way up.  Remember, you can adjust the amount of makeup both by the opacity of the brush and the opacity of each layer.  Don't make your portrait into a plastic barbie doll!!!

If you are new to using layer masks click "B" to grab your brush (make sure it is soft and in Normal mode), click on the layer mask to select it, and paint on your image.  Use white on a black mask to add the layer and black on a white mask to remove the layer.  To set your brushes to black and white click "D" and use "X" to switch between black and white.  The bracket keys [ ] can be used to make your brush bigger and smaller. 

I used a soft white low opacity brush and painted over her hair in the "Highlight Hair" layer to add some brightness.

Unless the skin is unusually rough I skip the "Smooth Skin" layer.  I prefer adding "Powder" as freckles won't be completely covered up. I love freckles (see before and after at the end of this post for an example).

I used a 50% soft white brush on the "Eye Bright" layer and clicked on the iris to make it really pop.  Adjust the opacity to taste.  Don't overdo this step, you don't want your eyes to look alien!

Click on the "Mascara and Pretty Iris" layer  mask and grab a soft white brush and paint over eyelashes and the iris to enhance and darken.  If the effect is too much you can change the blending mode to Soft Light or adjust the opacity of that layer.  You can also some paint some on the hair to add some drama.

The "Powder" layer is really amazing yet it is such a simple layer.  Just click on the little peach fill color  layer to select it and then click on an area of clear bright skin in your portrait.  This way you can customize the powder for each image and make it as  light or dark as you want.

I used a soft white brush and painted over her skin.  Make sure to remove some of the powder from the ends of her nose and any dimples (I used a 50% opacity brush) and remove all of it from her eyes, eyelashes, and lips.

I love seeing where I am adding the powder, so I Shift/Alt,Option click on the black layer mask.  The red area is masked from the powder.  I can easily zoom in and fine-tune the layer using this method.

Once you have the powder applied, Shift/Alt,Option click on the layer mask to remove the red effect and then dial down the opacity.  I used 31% in this edit but I usually go even lower.

Adding blush and lipstick is so easy on the "Blush and Lipstick" layer.  Grab a soft low opacity white brush and gently brush over cheeks and lips.  I usually use 10-30% on cheeks and 20% on lips. It is best to start low and paint a few times until you have the perfect amount of color.  This image has too much blush because this little girl was playing with her Mommy's makeup.  ;-)

To whiten teeth and whiten eye whites, select the layer mask of the proper layer and use a soft white brush to paint over teeth and the whites of the eyes.  Make sure to zoom in before painting and lower the opacity to taste.  You don't want blinding white teeth or eye whites like so many of the actors and cable newscasters out there.  ;-)

After I finish the edit I usually dial everything down a bit more to make sure it is not overdone.

Here is a before and after image Holly (Captured Memories) posted on my Facebook page.

And that is it to using my newest action.  I hope you enjoy playing with "Pretty Makeup" and I would love to see your results on my Facebook page or linked in my comment.

Download the CoffeeShop "Pretty Makeup" Photoshop/PSE Action. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions (I have so many retouching actions including this one today) and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. You are awesome and so is this action - thank you so much for sharing!

  2. I love love love this little action. Today was my first day ever of hearing about these. I downloaded this and it worked like a charm. However, I then went to add a couple more actions etc. I am not sure what happened but when I went to use this action again, none of my brushes were working on the masks. I am not sure if my brush mode was changed- where can I find out what it is supposed to be (dodge, overlay etc)? I am not sure if this is my issue but I have been stuck all day trying to get this to work again. Thank you!

  3. Your brush setting should be located on top after you select the brush. Make sure it is in normal mode. If that doesn't fix it just reset your preferences (google the keys, I can't remember them right now!).

  4. Thank you! I love this action, and all the others you offer! But I have a problem I just cannot figure out. All the steps worked perfectly expect with the "Mascara & Pretty Iris" and the "Powder". I tried using both of these but nothing happens. Any ideas what I am doing wrong? Thank you!!

  5. Stephanie, try resetting your preferences and also make sure you are using a normal brush.

  6. Thank you! But I have a problém.I can't see layers: mascara & pretty iris, powder and lipstick and blush . I only have hair highlight and then nothing.


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