Dating online, you want to make a fabulous first impression. But you don’t want to make a false one. The Daily Mail reports that "a quarter of singles admit to Photoshopping their images before posting them in the hope of finding love."

Well, here are some pointers that can help you turn that hope into fulfillment.

Five ways to use Photoshop for putting your best face forward

1. Be choosy about the background of your photo

You can tell a selfie has been Photoshopped by clues in the background. Subtle editing is key, and you should take frequent breaks from it. If you’re using Photoshop:

  • Create two image layers
  • Smudge the top one
  • Isolate the body from the background, using a layer mask
  • Add a third layer and clone stamp it to remove any overlap

Using layers in Photoshop allows you to format multiple images, add text, or change the background of an image. You can also use a layer style to add special effects, such as a glow or shadow.

2. Slim yourself the smart way

"In real life, you have to diet to slim down," the New York Times notes. "In the virtual world, it's a snap to get a leaner profile pic in Photoshop." Avoid jagged or pixelated edges. You can make yourself appear thinner and fitter in photos using Photoshop, but slim down body parts in phases. This helps to prevent unnatural lines.

To slim down your photo:

  • Load your photo in Photoshop
  • Select "filter" and choose "liquefy"
  • Place the crosshair of the tool at the edge of the part you want to slim, using the toolbox's forward warp tool
  • Slowly drag the crosshair toward the center of the part you want to slim

Keep in mind that it takes time to achieve realistic results using this method.

3. Leave some imperfections unhidden

Imperfections will make your photo look more natural, so prospective dates won’t question it. Don’t smooth your skin overmuch in Photoshop; leave in some small blemishes or lines. A filter can give your photo an edgier look while hiding some blemishes. Think Instagram. The Huffington Post recommends the Instagram filters "Earlybird," "Mayfair," and "Amaro."

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Some of the best filters in Photoshop include the spot healing brush, which removes any obvious blemishes on your skin. A second filter you can use as a layer in Photoshop to subtly hide blemishes and soften the appearance of your skin is the soften skin filter. This filter is highly effective, especially when used with the high pass filter. The two together softens everything except edges.

4. Avoid only fixing obvious issues and subtly accentuating your best features

Only hide imperfections that truly bother you. But don’t get too complicated, because it’s hard to pass off big edits as natural.

Some major Photoshop over-editing pitfalls include:

  • Brightening colors too much – this can give your image a neon color
  • Adding too much contrast – this results in a loss of naturalness
  • Toning your image too much – this can make your image look overly edited and out of place

What’s more, don’t crop your image too much. This can result in a heavily pixelated photo. And whatever you do, don’t crop a picture of yourself at the joints. Finally, avoid over-whitening your teeth or making your skin appear as though it’s plastic.

5. Whatever you do, don’t try to Photoshop your hair

Photoshop’s contrast and brightness tools are great for enhancing your skin tone and makeup. But too-perfect hair tips off potential dates that your photos are edited. It’s super noticeable when hair has been touched up in pictures.

That being said, you can subtly enhance your hair color using Photoshop. To give your hair more shine and color naturally:

  • Add a color fill adjustment layer
  • Limit this layer to the highlights by double-clicking the layer and selecting “blend-if” in the blending options
  • Click and drag the left slider on the “underlying layer” slide
  • Change the blend mode to “overlay” and adjust the color (this will result in a more natural highlight hair color)

Avoid becoming a "'shopaholic"

When it comes to retouching selfies, less is definitely more. You never want effects to upstage your natural charms. With these tips in mind, you can keep any effects in the supporting roles they were meant to play.

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