How To Create Flawless Skin
Using Frequency Separation in Photoshop

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Project Description

Alright boys and girls, this tutorial will show you how to use frequency separation to achieve flawless, but realistic, skin retouching. This technique is also helpful when it comes to digital makeup and other effects. My skin was surprisingly good when I took this picture so I used frequency separation to add imperfections. Once you know the fundamentals, then you can just have fun with it!

Tutorial Details

Category Retouching
Skill Level Advanced
Software Adobe Photoshop


Step 1: Create Frequency Layers

Create 2 copies of your base layer. Rename the first Low Frequency and the second (top) High Frequency.

Step 2: Low Frequency Layer

Hide the top layer (high frequency) so you can see what you’re working with. Go to Filter < Blur < Gaussian Blur and adjust the settings to blur out the details. Skin tone should look relatively smooth. Click OKAY.

Step 3: High Frequency Layer

Show the layer and go to Image < Apply Image. Change settings to Layer – Low Frequency
Subtract: Scale – 2, Offset – 128, don’t invert OR
Add: Scale – 2, Offset – 0, Invert
Click OKAY.


Step 4: Change Blending Mode

Change the blending more to Linear Light. It should look like the base layer.

Step 5: Remove Flaws from High Frequency Layer

Select the high frequency layer. Using the stamp tool, select areas of good skin (click using ALT) to stamp over flaws. You can also use the stamp tool smooth out areas with too much texture by stamping over it at 50%.

Step 6: Smooth Skin in Low Frequency Layer

Select the low frequency layer. Using the Mixer Brush, blend skin with the Moist, Heavy Mix setting. Blend small areas at a time to avoid flattening skin tone.

Step 7: Optional Color Correction

If there are still a few areas where the coloring isn’t quite right, create a new layer below the high frequency layer, use the eyedropper tool to pick up your desired skin tone, and color over the area with the brush at a low opacity. You can change the opacity of the layer if you need to.

That wasn’t too bad, right? Even if it seems a little time consuming now, you’ll get faster at it the more you do it. If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below and I’ll do my best to help you out!!

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