Fixing Busted Britney

This celebrity is usually quite attractive. Apparently wearing gallons and gallons makeup on-stage while sweating profusely for hours on end can be bad for your skin. In these candid photos, she doesn’t look so good. So I’m going to fix her busted face.


Ugh… In this tutorial, Layer Masks and the Healing Brush are going to be our best friends. So make sure you have a decent grasp on both.

Let’s start by duplicating the Background layer [Ctrl + J]. Select the Healing Brush tool [J]. Now let’s start taking away the major blemishes.


Set the tool Mode to [Color] to make some of the blotchy spots on her face more uniform. Now let’s duplicate the retouched photo with [Ctrl + J].

Now, normally we could use the [Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches] filter, but her face still seems pretty blotchy. So, I’m going to go [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur]. Set it to the amount that makes her skin as even as possible without looking too blurred.


TIP: You can reduce the filter effect after applied by pressing [Ctrl + Shift + F] and reducing the slider.

We can use the Healing Brush again on the blurred layer to remove any really pesky spots. Next, we’ll apply a Layer Mask to the blurred layer and fill it with black. Select the Brush tool [B] and choose a soft-edged brush. Now we’re going to start lightly “painting” away the rough areas.

TIP: If you find yourself zooming in and out a lot, you might want to duplicate the window [Window > Arrange > New Window for ...], leave one at the full view, and use the other one to zoom in. This way you can see your changes live.


After you’ve smoothed out the rough spots, you might want to add a little Noise to get some texture back. [Filter > Noise > Add Noise]. I used a very small percent with a Uniform distribution.

Now let’s add a Levels Adjustment Layer to lighten up her dark eye circles. Drag the middle slider to the left to make the image brighter. Then, fill the Layer Mask with black, and paint only the areas you want brightened. They don’t have to be perfect, just brighter.

Next, we’ll create a Solid Color Adjustment layer. Don’t worry about what color, cause we’re going to change it. Once the layer is created, fill the Layer Mask with black. Double-click on the layer to bring up the color browser, and select a color near her eye.


Set the Layer Mode to Luminosity (worked best for me, you might want to scroll through to see which mode works best for you), and again, paint the areas you want lightened.


Now let’s add some color to her lips. I first create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, set it to Colorize, and play with the sliders until I find a lip color I like. I then fill the Mask with black and paint the area of her lips. For an added touch, I set the Layer Mode to Soft Light to keep some of the reflection.


We’ll do pretty much the same steps as before, but a little more subtle to add some color to her cheeks, and again to add some color around her eyes.


I’ll then add another Levels Adjustment Layer at the top of all the Layers to brighten the image. Above that, I add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and increase the Saturation to a more lively feeling. Above that layer, I add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer, with a slight Contrast increase to bring back some of the shadows.


After those 3 layers, you might want to go back to some of your previous layers and tone down some of your corrections. And that’s it! I fixed Britney’s busted face in a matter of minutes.


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  1. February 13, 2009 11:15 amAlex


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