05. Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Tricks for Removing Under Eye Circles

Removing under eye circles in Photoshop Elements is a quick and easy technique, if you do it the right way.


    • Make sure the eye area is bright enough.  If you didn’t use a reflector and have shadows in the eye sockets, lighten them with Levels and a layer mask.  Here is my eye brightening setting and mask:


  • Turn off that Levels layer temporarily by clicking on the eyeball so that you can avoid funky color shifts.
  • Next, add a new, blank layer by going to the Layer Menu and selecting New > Layer.
  • Click on your Clone Tool to turn it on.  Change the tool’s blend mode to Lighten and the opacity to 30%.  Your tool options should look something like this.  (Screenshot from Elements 11.)
  • Size your tool so that it is just a little less wide that the under eye circle.  Hit ] to make your tool larger and [ to make it smaller.
  • Set the target for good pixels to replace the dark circle with by holding down alt or option and clicking on good skin under the inner corner, just under the dark skin.
  • Brush once, staring at the inner corner and dragging all the way to the outside edge of the eye.  Repeat, but only if necessary.  I usually hold my brush a little below the eyeline to make for a more natural appearance.  We all have some amount of shadow under our eyes – removing it 100% makes for a fake looking photo.  This image shows you where my paint strokes were:
  • Turn that Levels adjustment layer back on, and you’re done.

Note that I softened some crow’s feet with this technique as well, very lightly.

It will take you longer to read through this article than it will actually take to remove those under eye circles in Photoshop Elements. :)  Happy Friday, everyone!


  1. Marcia Black Says :
    Posted on March 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    This simple trick just tickled me pink! Thank you so much for sharing this important, easy, and wonderful tip. My previous efforts looked fake and overdone. Time for a new photoshoot with new improved results.

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on March 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Marcia, your comment tickled ME pink. Thank you so much! I am glad I could help.

  2. Suzanne
    Posted on March 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you so much. I don’t do so much editing but this one may make for some photos of myself I’m willing to share lol!

  3. Suz
    Posted on March 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Is there an easy way to do this in Lightroom? I have a daughter who has allergies and always ends up with this problem.

  4. Melanie Says :
    Posted on April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Now if only I could Photoshop my actual face. :p FTR, you look adorable both ways, hon!

  5. Marissa
    Posted on November 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Love, love, love your site! What do you mean by this step:
    Turn off that Levels layer temporarily by clicking on the eyeball so that you can avoid funky color shifts.
    I think I’m missing something here :) thanks!!

    • Erin Peloquin Says :
      Posted on November 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Look for the eyeball in the screenshot of the layers panel above.

  6. Meg
    Posted on October 6, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I’m excited to find your blog-thanks! But I’m goofing this up. When I do the first step I get raccoon eyes. What brush settings do you use to paint the white on the mask? Thanks!!

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