How To Soften Skin With The Adobe Lightroom Adjustment Brush

Adobe Lightroom doesn't have an extensive portrait retouching capability, you typically need to drop into Adobe Photoshop for this. However, Lightroom does have a few features under the hood for basic portrait editing. One of these is the skin smoothing feature.

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Step 1 - Head over into the Development Module and select the Adjustment Brush.

Step 2 - Right at the top of the Adjustment Brush Panel is a pull-down menu with various normalized effect settings. For skin smoothing, there are two 'Soften Skin' and 'Soften Skin (Lite).  Intuitively, the Lite version has less intensity than the standard version of the effect. 

Step 3 - Use the Adjustment Brush to paint over the areas of your portrait that you want to soften. 


1) If you want to see where you have painted, select the 'Show Selected Mask Overlay' radio button at the bottom of the Loupe preview panel

2) Avoid areas of skin where there are naturally more details, like around the eyes, lips, the nose.

3) To soften the application of the effect, reduce the Flow of the brush.

4) Use an Erase brush to remove any areas where you make a mistake.

5) Don't overdo the effect, as the skin starts to look plastic if you do. Your subject/model won't thank you!

Step 4 - Select Done, and your effect is applied.

Here is the Skin Smoothing (Lite) effect applied to the model in the feature image.

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