How to Make Skin Matte in Photoshop

May 17, 2024

Skin too oily? Learn how to mattify skin in Photoshop with this tutorial. This technique can be done in a couple minutes and is suitable for beginners. You'll learn how to color in the oily spots and blend it in with luminosity masking.

Step 1

Open your photo into Photoshop. Because we'll be using luminosity masking, your photo should be properly exposed before proceeding. Here's the image that I'll be working with.

Step 2

Create a new layer. I'll name this layer "Foundation" (as in makeup).

Step 3

Select the Eyedropper tool from the toolbar. You can do this quickly by pressing the hotkey "I". In the options bar located below Photoshop's menu, set the sample size to something larger. Since I'm working on a high-res photo, I'll set mine to 101x101 average which means that it'll sample/pick-up the average color from a larger area.

Click on an area near the oily spot to sample a skin tone as your foreground color.

Step 4

Select the Brush tool (Hotkey: B). In the options bar, make sure that the mode is set to "Normal" and opacity to "100%'.

Right-click on the document and choose a large semi-soft brush. The size will depend on the resolution of your photo (larger for higher-res photos).

Paint over the oily spots. It will look like paint being applied on the face but don't worry because we'll blend it in using luminosity masking in the next step.

Step 5

Now it's time to blend it in with luminosity masking! Right-click on the "Foundation" layer and select "Blending Options". In the "Blend If > Underlying Layer" section, drag the black input slider towards the right until the edges start to conform with the shape of the oily areas.

Hold the Alt/Option key then drag the black input slider all the way to the right. When you hold the Alt/Option key and click on the input slider, it'll break in half and this lets you fade the edges. After doing this, the edges should look softer and the "Foundation" layer should blend in better. Click OK to exit out of the Layer Style panel.

By the way, some of you might be wondering why we're doing luminosity masking with a layer style as opposed to a layer mask. There are two ways of doing luminosity masking in Photoshop. Although the layer mask method is taught the most often, the layer style method should be used whenever possible as it. I highly recommend watching this luminosity masking tutorial to learn about the differences.

Step 6

The final step is to lower the opacity. Right now the foundation is really strong and you can make it look more natural by reducing the opacity to anywhere between 30-70%.

Final Results

Here's how this portrait looks like before and after mattifying in Photoshop. Now before you say that the skin still needs more retouching, keep in mind that this tutorial is only showing you how to mattify skin in Photoshop. Airbrushing skin using frequency separation is another step.


Skin Mattifying Photoshop Actions

If you're looking for something easier and faster, there are some Skin Retouching Photoshop actions by SparkleStock. It has a variety of actions to retouch skin and includes the best skin mattifying action. I recommend using the Ultra Mattifier action which works almost all the time. It detects the skin's color and does an incredible job mattifying skin.

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7 comments on “How to Make Skin Matte in Photoshop”

    1. Frequency separation is NOT for making skin matte. It does not hide oily skin, only blurs some imperfections. So do yourself a favor, Boris, and look up a proper frequency separation tutorial.

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