A Breakdown Of How Celebrities Photoshop Their Pics

So since I’ve been doing these Photoshop articles, I’ve complained A LOT about how other people edit their photos. And gotten questions about how to do it correctly. So here I am, I’m going to show you how to do a basic edit. Then, to prove a point, I’m going to show you what celebrities/photographers/editors do to make people look like celebrities. I’m showing you how to do the celeb edit so you understand that not even THEY look like this in real life. None of it is real, and you shouldn’t hold fake images as your standard.

I’ll never forget when a friend from college got a job editing music videos. There was a certain singer that I always thought was the pinnacle of perfection—perfect skin, perfect hair, beautiful, and very thin. Turns out, she wasn’t so thin IRL. Her weight fluctuates just like all of us. In fact, she gained a ton of weight before the video my friend was editing. His job was to go frame by frame through the music video, and edit out her multiple chins, and shave down her entire body to make her look fit. After that, I realized every image, every movie, and every video is complete BS.

Shall we begin? I’m going to show you how to edit a selfie today, then next week we’re going to do a full body shot.

Here is a sloppy af photo of me that I just took. I spent my morning at doctor appointments, so I didn’t really care how I left the house today.

Fun fact: when I decided to do this assignment, I was like, “Aw bummer, my skin has been soooo perfect and I want to show them how easy it is to cover acne. Maybe I’ll Photoshop some acne into the original photo so I can show you how to cover it.” But then the universe was like, “Acne, you say? You don’t have to tell me twice.” And my skin broke out horribly. So. Awesome. AND, right before I was Maid of Honor in my friend’s wedding last weekend.

I hope you enjoy it.

Okay, so for full disclosure: this is my no-makeup makeup. I have on translucent powder, tinted eyebrow gel, mascara, and a blush/lip tint combo, although the tint seems to have mostly wiped off by now. My hair is usually a cool gray ombre, but I neutralized it out for my friend’s wedding and haven’t used my purple shampoo yet. I also took the photo in the most flattering lighting in my apartment (facing the window), but the flip side is you can see all the crap behind me. We’ll get to that later.

I’m using Photoshop CC for this edit. If you regularly edit your photos, just bite the bullet and get it. Facetune tries to cheat what Photoshop does, but does it in a fast, one-size-fits-all way. If you want your edits to look seamless and professional, it’s not really negotiable.

Basic Edits

Ok, the first things I’m going to do are crop, sharpen, and fix the lighting.

The crop tool is located to the left on the toolbar. You just drag the window it makes to your desired spot. I’m cropping out my fridge and the writing on my t-shirt.

Next, we sharpen. The photo was done with my 4-year-old iPhone, so the quality isn’t the best. I don’t even have Portrait mode. Sharpening makes the photo look more high res. Weirdly enough, I can’t screenshot menus in Photoshop, so this is where you find it. At the top toolbar, go to Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen. Yes, two sharpens, because there are different options, but we want the basic.

Also on the top bar, you go to Image and you’ll see options Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. Try this out (feel free to undo) until you get the lighting you want for your picture. You can also adjust manually but for basic color balance, these work just fine.

Here is  my image now:

The color is clearer, but my acne is more prominent. That’s okay, we can fix that. These are just basics I go through first. Now we get to the true editing.

TBH? I normally don’t edit my own photos, besides like, using a flattering filter. I would have put on concealer before taking this pic IRL, and more makeup probably, made sure my hair was done, changed my shirt, etc. It’s a lot easier than trying to edit after the fact. I recommend preventing editing always. But let’s say you can’t, the photo has been taken, and you need to fix it. Here’s where editing is useful.

Now we need to unlock the layer and duplicate it. Unlock by clicking the little lock next to the image in your Layers menu. If you don’t see this menu, you can turn it on under View at the top. Once it’s unlocked, press Ctrl+J to duplicate. We do this so if you screw anything up, we can just grab it from the original layer.

Now that those are done, let’s fix my skin. We need the Spot Healing Brush. Find it on your toolbar here:

And then you literally just stamp over any SMALL imperfections. It works by copying the surround color/texture and stamping it over the area you indicate. This is how some images go horribly wrong—when people use this on more complicated areas, such as the hands. It’s only meant for small problems in larger areas, like acne. Just click the tool over any problem spots.

Ta da! Perfect skin. I use this sparingly, leaving freckles, oiliness, and redness out of it. If you need to fix that, there are better ways. See? That took me literally a second.

Next, grab the Burn tool, by finding it on the toolbar or pressing “O” on your keyboard. It may be set to the Dodge tool, which is different, so to switch it to Burn mode, right click on the icon on your toolbar and select it.

The Burn tool darkens things in a way that makes sense with the color palette. I’m going to trace over my eyebrows, eyelids, and lower eyelashes with it to give the appearance of shadow/makeup. You can keep layering it to continue to make it darker. I also like to trace the outside edge of the irises to make what we’re going to do next really pop.

And that takes way less time than actually applying eye makeup. Next, right-click the same tool but select Dodge. Just like Burn darkens, Dodge lightens. This time, I’m going to trace the inside of my iris, the whites of my eyes, and my teeth. It brightens everything up. Make sure you don’t go too overboard with either the Dodge or Burn tools. Less is more. If you think it’s too much, try lowering the percentage at the top toolbar. Selecting “protect tones” helps as well.

And here it is:

This is now a really nice “no makeup” selfie. But let’s push it further. First of all, I HATE having stuff in the background of my pictures. Let’s get rid of it. Please don’t use the soft airbrush to erase, it looks awful. Here’s how I like to do this. First, CTRL+J to duplicate the layer again, so you have a copy. Then, at the top toolbar, go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast. Then bring both the brightness and contrast all the way over to the right, or until the background is mostly white. Don’t worry that your selfie looks terrible. Mine looks like this:

Ahh, Myspace flashbacks. For those of you who are young, we used to do this on purpose to our photos and thought it looked good. Anyway. Create a new layer. Then, press B for the brush tool. Using the HARD brush tool (not that soft airbrush one), color in the rest of the background white. Use a small brush around the hair so you can keep some flyaways. We don’t want a definitive line. Mine looks like this:

Here’s the cool part. Go back to the layer with the high contrast image. Switch to your eraser (press E) and we’re going to erase out the selfie part of the image. What will show beneath is our previous layer. Be careful not to go too close to the edges of the background, or you’ll bring back some of that too. But you can always Undo or paint it white again on your white layer.

Now, this is just a nit-picky thing that may seem weird to you, but I HATE when most of the flyaways are gone and it looks cut out. So if this happens, I like to paint a little frizz back in. Not as much as there was (my hair was a MESS), but just a little. To do this, CREATE A NEW LAYER (very important). Then go back to your Brush tool, put it on a reaaaaallly small size, and then Press I to get the Eyedropper tool. Select a piece of hair to grab the color. Then start drawing in a few flyaways. I recommend changing the color (Press I again) when you get to lighter pieces. Remember, draw in the same direction as the hair already is. When you’re done, go to the layer window, and reduce the Opacity of the layer to 75%. It makes it look a bit more natural.

And here it is:

Much better! Now it looks like a decent selfie. This is beyond enough for a basic edit. But let’s say…I’m Instagram famous.

Celebrity Edit

How can we edit this further? Well. It’s a lot. This won’t be as bad as the body one for next week, but I think it’s important to show you how easy it is to edit and how full of sh*t celebrity photos can be. Keep in mind, if this was a professional ad, I’d have a MUCH higher quality image, so it’d be even more believable. So, let’s go.

My hair color looks a bit weird in this photo, so I’m going to fix that next. Make a new layer. If you haven’t caught on, I put as much as possible on new layers so that you can change Opacity or Mode easily, and also erase or get rid of it if you don’t like what you did. I’m normally a cool tone gray but I changed it for my friend’s wedding. For this edit, I’m going to make it how it was. Go to the brush tool and this time, DO choose the Soft Round brush this time. You can choose any color you wish. I chose a cool gray that is similar to my old color. Now you’ll paint over the larger parts of the hair. Leave the flyways and teeny pieces, they won’t matter much. Change your brush size as needed or use pressure sensitivity if you have a drawing tablet.

Lovely. Now go to your layers and change the mode to “Color” instead of Normal.

Look at that. Fresh dye, and it cost me nothing.

Next, I think the color of my shirt is too distracting. Let’s change that too. If you’re wearing a light colored shirt, you can change it the same way we did the hair. Go to the main layer (not the original backup, the copy we made). Choose the Lasso tool (press L) and select the shirt. It’s okay to overlap the hair. As long as your hair color layer is above this one (or if you made a new color layer for your shirt), the hair won’t be affected.

Then, go to the top toolbar. Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. Lower the Saturation until you’re happy. I did a muted blue.

This was more of a personal choice, but I think it’s less distracting.

Now, we can do lipstick. I’m going to make a new layer, and use the lasso tool again on my lips. I’m choosing a berry color. Then, go to the layer mode, like we did with the hair, and change it to Multiply. You can try different modes if that one doesn’t work with your color choice. You can also adjust the opacity if you think it’s too much.

At this point, my lips are looking REALLY airbrushed. It’s mostly because my image wasn’t very hi-res to begin with, but also, the more you edit, the worse it gets. Depending on what this was for, I would maybe grab lip texture from something else and put it on lips to force it to look hi-res. I also sometimes paint pores back in for the same reason. But most celebs keep the airbrushed look for their selfies, so we’ll just leave it. If you’re curious as to what it looks like, I made myself into a GoT poster for the last season. I painted in all the pores and lip texture because I also used my iPhone for this and don’t own a real camera:

View this post on Instagram

#winterishere #gameofthrones ???

A post shared by Holly Hammond (@hollydoesart) on

Okay, back to our current project. Here’s where sh*t starts to get weird. One of the biggest features of Facetune that people like my mother are obsessed with, is to make the eyes bigger. It makes them look more open and awake, but if done poorly, can make you look like a scary cartoon. Here’s how it’s done professionally. Go to the main layer again, and select the eyes.

Ctrl+J to make a copy of JUST the eyes. Then, press Ctrl+T to bring up the transform window. At the top, you’ll see a toolbar with percentages. Change W: from 100% to 105%. Change H: from 100% to 105%.

You can see that this made the eyes slightly bigger. You can do more than 105% if you want, but proceed with caution. Now, go to your Eraser and choose a soft brush. Erase out the edges around your bigger eyes layer so they blend in. I also recommend erasing out the eyebrows. Big eyes are cute, but you don’t need oversize brows too (or maybe you do?).


To this:

Okay. Are you exhausted yet? I actually normally do this super fast, but it’s taking me forever breaking it down. If you’re interested in doing this professionally, this is a quick process when you’re used to it.

Time for more makeup.

To fake foundation, this is an especially good trick to cover under-eye circles, redness, or oiliness. Create a new layer. Use the Brush tool with a soft brush. Use the Eyedropper tool (press I) to selection your skin tone. Paint over the face, avoiding eyes, eyebrows, and lips.


Lower the opacity in the layer window as needed. I did 20% because the lighting was pretty good when I took the pic, so I didn’t need much. If you have REALLY bad bags or oiliness, make a separate layer (so you don’t lose your nose) for just that section and keep the opacity higher (50-75%).

Here is that airbrushed look that I hate that everyone gets:

Now let’s *CONTOUR*. For this to work, we need to compress the image. I recommend doing this as a copy. Click inside the layer window. Press Ctrl+A to select all layers. Then, Press CTRL+J. It will duplicate every single layer. Then, press CTRL+E. It will merge all the new layers into one. Now we have a clean workspace of all of our edits that we can Dodge and Burn. Press O, and switch between the Burn and Dodge tools to contour your face the same way you’d put on makeup. Dodge where you’d put highlighter: the cheekbones, the nose, underneath eyebrows, above top lip, corner of eyes, the center of the lower lip, and a little on the chin. Then, Burn where you’d contour: under cheekbones, around edge of face, outside edges of forehead, sides of nose, top lip, and sides of lips if you want, etc. Contour as you see fit. You can also Burn around your eyes again to really make them pop. I also Burned my neck so that my new tanner shadows match.

Sidenote: if this was being used professionally, I’d edit some of the hair covering my neck out, but frankly, I don’t care and I can’t believe anyone is still paying attention to this.

Now, since I didn’t have eye makeup on in this photo, let’s add some! And lash extensions! Why not? Make a new layer. Go to your Brush and change the color to either dark brown or black. Choose a very small hard brush. Now I did my eyeliner like I usually would—a cateye, and I drew in eyelashes. If you’re going to do this, make sure they’re not perfectly spaced and are irregular.

Now lower the opacity a little on the layer, I did 70%.

Okay, guys, since this is sooooo long I’m going to stop here. If we really wanted to get further into it, I could photoshop someone else’s hair on me, change my outfit, give me someone else’s eyebrows, change my face shape. Really anything. But hopefully this gives you a view the next time you see a celebrity or influencer selfie, that nothing is really what it seems!

Here is the real image to my edit:

Bottom line? TRUST NO ONE. You can’t even tell I look like an acne-ridden 15-year-old in real life. And these edits are even more realistic with a hi-res image. See you next week for the body edit! It will be craaazy.

Are there any Photoshop specific things you want me to teach you how to do? LMK in the comments!

The Types Of Makeup Brushes You Actually Need To Buy

Ok, so if you’ve ever fallen into the black hole that is internet makeup tutorials (aka all of us), then you’ve probably been exposed to the endless makeup brushes that those 15-year-old YouTube stars use. But which makeup brushes do you actually need? I mean, we love contouring as much as the next betch, and we also enjoy a perfect smoky eye, but do you really need a different brush for your crease, brow bone, and smudging? Not so much. Read on to find out which makeup brushes your vanity can do without, and which ones ACTUALLY need (and where to use them), courtesy of Jane Iredale’s new (and chicly designed) brush collection.

1. Eyeshadow Brush

Jane Iredale’s Chisel Shader Brush is perfect for both powder and cream eyeshadows, and can be used to lay down the eyeshadow from the lash line to the brow bone so you won’t need another brush. The densely packed, short bristles make it easy to build layers of shadow without smudging.

2. Crease Brush

A brush with long, soft bristles helps to blend a multicolored eye look so you don’t end up with streaky raccoon eyes. If you’ve ever seen someone walking around with unblended eyeshadow, you know why a crease brush is necessary.

3. Powder Foundation Brush

If you’re into powder foundations or bronzers, then a long-bristled, flat-topped brush like The Handi Brush can be used to dab on the powder, then buff out after applying. Since the bristles are so dense, you won’t lose or waste makeup in the application process.

4. Liquid Foundation Brush

If you’re a liquid foundation kinda betch, you need a large, rounded, densely packed brush like a Kabuki Brush for an application that you can buff on evenly for the best coverage. Yes, you really do need a different brush for each type of foundation. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

5. Contour Brush

If you want to properly achieve a transformation as dominant as Kim K’s, then you’re going to need a contour brush (and a lot of other work—but most importantly, a contour brush). The brush also doubles as a blush brush and is really used to enhance any/all features. Contour brushes should be of medium density and have an angled top. Those of you who still haven’t figured out how to contour can save a little money by not bothering with this type of brush.

6. Fan Brush

Ok, so you really only need this brush if you’re obsessed with highlighters. Which, if you’ve read this far into the story, odds are you take angled selfies just to get a glimpse of your glowing highlighter. There’s just something about having shimmering cheeks that makes us feel better about ourselves. A soft, long-bristled, fan-shaped brush should be dabbed into a highlighter and then spread above your cheekbones. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in highlighter and thinks it’s all a scam to get us to buy repackaged eyeshadow, you can skip the fan brush.

7. Angle Liner/Brow Brush

Short, thin, angled brushes like Jane Iredale’s Angle Liner/Brow Brush will help to apply eyeliner and fill in your brows without making you look like Oscar The Grouch. So yeah, you need one of these in your stash.

8. Concealer Brush

A rounded, flat, dense brush with medium to short bristles allows you to apply and blend liquid or cream concealer evenly, and with control so you don’t end up having white rings around your eyes when someone uses the camera’s flash.

Easter Beauty Dos & Don’ts So You Don’t Offend Your Grandma Or Jesus

We’ve already established that Easter is pretty lit as far as holidays go. I mean how can you not love a holiday that’s based around brunch, chocolate appetizers, and talking about the dudes in your life who sacrifice things for you? TBH it’s what I was planning to do on Sunday anyway.

Easter is also the one holiday in which a lonely boy from Brooklyn gets to dress like an Upper East Sider and no one can talk shit about it. Seriously it’s like Easter is low-key sponsored by Lily Pulitzer and the guy who went to formal with me one year who tried to bring back visors. 

And because people think they can live above their station and embrace their inner Gossip Girl, they try and get bold with their beauty looks. Whether it’s to personally offend their grandmothers at church or to show their ex-boyfriend from high school that they’re still hot AF (I’m going with the latter) the extras of the world will be doing the most this Sunday so brace yourselves. If you’re reading this right now and questioning if you too are a little extra then you probably are and I will be judging you. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some dos and don’ts for looking extra on Easter:

DO: Go For The Subtle, Natural Face Makeup

The goal of Easter is to look virginal and innocent and not like the orange juice in your hand rn is 90% Champagne. This is so Jesus and your mother can rest easy knowing that they didn’t sacrifice everything for the type of person who likes to black out on Thursdays and only uses the term “Jesus Christ” when they wake up in a hideous stranger’s bed. And nothing says “I didn’t give it up my first week of college” than a fresh-faced look. Stick to concealer and a light foundation for your face makeup and use cream blushes in warm peaches or pinks to give your skin that subtly flushed look. Top off the look with neutral eye shadows to give off some I-woke-up-like-this vibes.

DON’T: Show Up With A Full-On Contoured Face

The last thing I want to fucking see at 9am mass is your contoured face while I’m trying not to look hungover AF in front of my grandmother. It’s not what I want and it’s not what Jesus would have wanted either. Keep that shit for your Instagram story where it belongs.

DO: Make A Statement With Your Sunglasses

If there was ever a time to have an Olsen twins moment it’s Easter fucking Sunday. Not only do statement sunglasses hide your disdain for your ex’s new girlfriend and her tacky-ass floral dress, but they’ll also make you look chic and put together.

DON’T: Show Up In A Floppy Fucking Hat

Outside of the beach or your travel Instagram account, floppy hats are not fucking okay to wear. First of all, it’s impractical. Unlike your sunnies, which will block out the sun and all the haters, floppy hats don’t block shit and only accentuate your RBF. Which is great for intimidating new members at the sisterhood beach retreat, but on Easter will probs have your mom threatening to take away your extra data plan.

Secondly, wearing a floppy hat is just fucking rude. As someone who barely gets above five feet wearing four-inch heels I already can’t see shit in a group sitting setting. Throw in a floppy hat and you’re just telling me to go fuck myself because I’m now going to spend the next 60 minutes staring at the back of your fucking hat instead of making eyes with the cute guy in the pew a few rows over. It’s sabotage and it’s going in my personal burn book.

DO: Wear A Bold Lip

If you’re feeling the urge to piss off your mother be bold with your look then my advice is to channel your inner Blair Waldorf and get bold with your lip game. While the dark, vampy lip color we know and love is usually our go-to, stick to the pinks and reds for Easter. It’s classic and because it’s on the pink/red color wheel your mom can’t say shit about it. Blessings.

DON’T: Get Bold With Your Eye Makeup

Now is not the time to try out a makeup trend that will have your priest questioning if you have conjunctivitis. This just screams “I’m an attention whore” and not in a cute way. Seriously, mass is only 60 minutes long. I need that time to thank Jesus for his sacrifices and also get his thoughts on this guy I’ve been seeing who “doesn’t like labels.” I don’t need to spend those precious moments trying not to go into a rage blackout.

Read: 5 Easter Fashion Tips To Avoid Looking Like A Human Peep
Nail Contouring Is The Latest Nail Trend, But Can We Not?

My nail lady and I are practically besties, usually only communicating in a series of soft smiles, appropriate chuckles here and there, and nods for yes or no. But as of late, she’s really overstepping her boundaries and telling me I need to “contour my nails.” Please. Please, God. Tell me you’re joking.

NOPE. This is not satire and I did not make this up. People are literally contouring their nails to make them look longer. Because actually like, letting your nails grow out is too practical a solution? Look, I don’t care if your nail beds suck, stop trying to make nail contouring happen. First there was face contouring, then more specifically nose contouring, then butt contouring—when does it end? All I’m asking for is ONE part of my body that I don’t have to contour. Is that so much to ask??

While we used to be proponents of nail art, this shit has really gone off the rails within the past year. We started with the deeply sus phase of gluing actual fur on your nails. You know, just in case people weren’t clear on how many cats you owned/how much time you spend listening to Taylor Swift. Now your bearded lady fingers can tell everyone what’s good. 

@ay0brandiiii RT @BeauTuts: these furry nails are cute pic.twitter.com/A67XG3H7EF

— PRSZN (@Prizzle_) March 1, 2017

And then there was the whole succulent nails trend. Too many green thumb puns to make, not enough time. I thought I saw enough cacti at Coachella, but learned the hard way nothing and no one can fight a hipster’s allegiance to their Insta likes—no matter how many plants they kill to glue onto their nails, no matter how many succulents they leave dead and bloody along the way, just as long as they can make a name for themselves as an Instagram beauty model.

I thought a lot of things were gonna happen in 2016 that didn’t. For example succulent nails never quite took off pic.twitter.com/bvCJZkfWll

— Jen O. (@Jenodd) December 30, 2016

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, here we are (honestly, that’s a metaphor for 2017). The nail contour. So people literally paint their nails with a clear/light coat, and then do a thin strip of a darker, brighter color down the middle to make their nails look longer.

Nail Contouring Is The New Beauty Trend You’ll Actually Want To Try: https://t.co/EAZEOc1N6n pic.twitter.com/mxtgkXogfb

— Girlfriend (@GirlfriendMAG) January 24, 2017

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally grateful for the Kardashian wisdom that so blessed me with the benefits of contouring. 15 minutes and 5 steps later, I watched myself go from a 6 to an 8 right in front of my very bathroom mirror. But nails??? At least let’s pick a part of the body that needs to shed a few. 
Said benefits of the “nail contour” from manicurists—manicurists I would never let within 15 miles of my hands—are:

1.  It’s “cool”. Guess we’re gonna have to disagree here, nail experts. If you have a cosmetology license, that shit should be revoked.

2.  It creates the illusion of longer nails. But who asked for this illusion?? And why can’t they just pay $40 for acrylics every month like the rest of us???

3. Easy execution. Well, I would hope the execution would be easy considering you’re LITERALLY SKIPPING HALF THE MANICURE. I wish life worked like this. Like, whenever I was in the mood for something easy, I could just skip half the work and just claim it’s the new trend. As I wonder why I’m still single and unemployed.

Overall, -2/10 do not recommend. America, let’s stop being so goddamn lazy and finish painting our whole nails. This is coming from the girl who just microwaved my food for 1:11 because I was too lazy to move my thumb to the 0 button. DO BETTER.