Sometimes, the Camera Captures Too Much.

Life happens. Maybe it’s a huge, life halting blemish in the middle of your forehead on your wedding day, a hotter-than-expected summer day during family photos, or maybe it’s just those pesky laugh lines from a life enjoyed. Whatever it is, there are times the camera is a little too honest. Whether you’re retouching your own photos or for a client, this easy skin retouching and restyling tutorial with Topaz Clean and Topaz Restyle will save hours of frustrating cloning and stamping in Photoshop.

I’ve included two practice images with this tutorial. I also retouched them following the same steps I outlines here. If you want to see those before and after’s they’re at the bottom of this tutorial!

Open Your Image

If you don’t own Topaz Clean or Topaz Restyle, don’t worry you can try them free for 30 days. Just click the links above!

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Before Image

So let’s take a look at this bride to be. It’s her big day, but her skin could be a little better.

As you can see there’s multiple issue in this image: oily spots, wrinkles, and some blemishes here and there.

Let’s start off by opening our image in Photoshop. You can do this by clicking File > Open… or by using the short key Command + O. If you don’t own Photoshop, open the image in one of our other Compatible Host Editors and then skip down to the next step!

For those of you who opened the image in Photoshop, here’s what you should see:

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Open your image in Photoshop

Next, we are going to take care of some of the major blemishes with Photoshop before opening up Topaz Clean.

Zoom in so you’re up-close and personal and can easily see all the problem areas.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Zoom in to View Blemishes

Click on the Spot Healing Brush or use the short key Command + J. You can adjust the size and hardness of the brush in the top left-hand corner, or use the short keys [ and ] to enlarge and minimize the brush size.

Place the brush over the blemishes the bride has on her face and just click! Ta-dah pimples are gone.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Large Blemishes Removed with the Healing Brush

NOTE: This is just the first step. It doesn’t have to be perfect! If you don’t have the ability to brush out blemishes, don’t worry. Topaz Clean does wonders for skin!

Topaz Clean

Duplicate your layer by right clicking and choosing Duplicate Layer… or use the short key Command + J. Rename the new layer Clean.

Open the Clean layer in Topaz Clean by clicking:

Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz Clean…

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Open Image in Topaz Clean

Depending on what shape the skin is in, will determine what preset you choose. As a rule of thumb, I always go a little stronger than my taste. You can always lower the opacity later.

For this bride, I chose the Preset DeGrunge from the Skin Collection.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Choose DeGrunge as your Preset

I tweaked the settings a little bit:

  • Strength: 4
  • Threshold: 0.98
  • Radius: 16
  • Accent: 1
  • Radius: 3.26
  • Sharpness: 1.59
  • Texture: 0.20
  • Boost: 2.49
  • Size: 2.07

Press OK  to bring your edit back into Photoshop.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Import edit back to Photoshop

While her skin looks so much better, I don’t like that there was lost detail in her hair and bouquet. Let’s mask those details back in.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with masking, it allows for the layer directly below to be visible. In our case, it will allow us to get back the detail of our bride’s hair and bouquet.

With the Clean layer selected, you are going to add a layer mask to it. This is done by clicking the layer mask icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your Photoshop window. (HINT: The icon that looks like a rectangle with a circle cut out of it.)

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Clean Layer Selected + Layer Mask Icon

You will have to use your brush tool to paint on the mask. Select the brush tool from the Photoshop tool bar on the right-hand side or use the short key Command + B. 

Here’s a little HINT: Black brushes away the layer and white brings back in the layer.

So using a black brush tool and with an opacity of about 75%, paint over where the details need to be brought back in.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Details Masked Back In

Merge Layers

Now we are going to merge your two layers together. While holding down the Command/ Ctrl key, select both layers.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean
Both Layers Selected

While both layers are selected click Layer > Merge Layers… or use the short key Command + E. Now, you should have only one layer. Select the newly merged layer and duplicate it. Rename the new layer Restyle. 


Open the Restyle layer in Topaz Restyle by clicking:

Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz Restyle…

Skin Restyling: Topaz Restyle
Image Opened in Topaz Restyle

For this edit, I chose to use the preset Cream and Redwood from the Portrait Collection.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Cream and Redwood Preset Applied

I almost never add a restyle preset to an image over about 60% opacity. For this particular image, I set the opacity to 57%. Less is more in this case. Especially for wedding or portrait photography. You want the image to look perfect, but also soft and inviting.

I used the preset as a starting point and tweaked it from there. To adjust the preset, just move the sliders on the right-hand side until you’re satisfied!

Here are the Adjustments I made:

Skin Restyling: Topaz Restyle
Hue Adjustment Panel

Hue Adjustments:

  • Primary: 0.00
  • Secondary: -0.70
  • Third: 0.00
  • Fourth: 0.00
  • Fifth: 0.00




Skin Restyling: Topaz Restyle
Saturation Adjustment Panel

Saturation Adjustment:

  • Primary: 0.00
  • Secondary: -1.00
  • Third: -0.48
  • Fourth: 0.16
  • With: 0.00




Skin Restyling: Topaz Restyle
Basic Adjustment Panel

Basic Adjustments:

  • Temperature: -0.12
  • Tint: 0.00
  • Saturation: 0.00
  • Black Level: -0.31
  • Midtones: -0.16
  • White Level: 0.39
  • Structure: 0.17
  • Sharpness: 0.16




NOTE: I didn’t change any values in the Luminosity Adjustment Panel.

Feel free to test out other presets and move the sliders around. That’s what the undo button is for! Once you’re satisfied with your edit, press OK to bring your edit back into Photoshop.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Finished Image in Photoshop

Saving Your Work

If you are completely happy with your edit, save it! To save your work click:

File > Save As.. or use the short key Command + Shift + S and choose an appropriate file name, type, and location. 

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean and Restyle
Finished Image

Practice Images

As promised, here are the two practice images. Below are the presets I used for each. NOTE: The Topaz Restyle settings listed for each image had a reduced opacity of about 40%.

Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean and Topaz Restyle
Topaz Clean: DeGrunge + Topaz Restyle: Bole and Coffee Brown
Skin Retouching: Topaz Clean and Topaz Restyle
Topaz Clean: DeGrunge + Topaz Restyle: Rusted Root

Wrapping it up:

I hope you enjoyed skin retouching tutorial that’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require too much technical know-how. This awesome duo of plugins works great for weddings, portraits, and even selfies! Who doesn’t want flawless skin in their profiles pictures, right? Here’s just a few other images I retouched with just a few clicks:

Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Clean: DeGrunge + Restyle: Somber Ecru
Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Clean: DeGrunge + Restyle: Living Room Laughs
Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Clean: DeGrunge + Restyle: Dingy Attic
Retouching: Topaz Restyle and Topaz Clean
Clean: Skin Even + Restyle: Somber Ecru

Don’t forget to check out Topaz Labs on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram and see what other users are creating. We also offer free Webinars and have a great Discussion Forum if you’re interested in learning more!

About Taylor L. Seaton

Taylor Seaton is a 2016 graduate from Angelo State University. While attending ASU, she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and an area of emphasis in Business Management and Marketing. She also played volleyball at the collegiate level. She is currently the Social Media Manager at Topaz Labs and lives in Richardson, TX with her cat and dog.

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