(full res)

Skyrim adventurers need to look good when fighting dragons. Follow my post on beautifying Skyrim to help your characters look their best with improved scenery and lighting. If you’re new to mods or Skyrim, check out my first post in this series.

If nothing else, give “Enhanced Lighting and FX” (ELFX) a try. Some of my screenshots use “Seasons of Skyrim” ENB, but most are with a modified “RealVision” ENB and other mods listed in my “Pretty Skyrim” post. One technique to help light a character is to have the follower hold a torch. You may also use “Face Light” spells (2 levels of brightness) for gentle illumination. Think of it as like having a helper hold a reflector at a photoshoot. “Face Light” is an actual light, so remember to dispel it before sneaking or preforming criminal acts. Unless your intent is to get caught and look great in jail. Like in the real world, best results are captured near sunrise or sunset.

Installation note:

Here I share my choices on body mesh and texture replacers. For detailed steps on installing with breast-and-butt physics (BBP) or dual sheath support in the correct order, see my previous post. Swapping textures is safe, but installation and load order matter for custom skeleton and body mesh.

Beautiful persons

I felt the original men were ugly with odd proportions and blocky features, and the women a bit better. My choices in mods led to more naturally proportioned men and women with nicer textures. No cartoon-like persons for me. Smaller breasts fit better for athletic warriors. Sitting and walking less robotic helps, too. Let’s start with faces since that’s the first thing we look at when creating a new character.


Above images show a comparison of same character in original game on left and with modifications of skeleton, body, skin texture, and hair applied on right along with a lighting mod. The eyes in the images remain the same. Her modified hair is “Superior Lore-Friendly Hair - HD Textures” which takes the same hairstyles and upgrades them with better textures for women and men, some styles with new hair clips. For alternative hairstyles, take a look at “KS Hairdos - Renewel” for hundreds of options. The improved flesh texture is “Mature Skin 2” with large-pore and medium-face-age options.


For better eyes, try “The Eyes of Beauty” mod which includes optional file for vampires. Not just great for screenshots, you’ll appreciate the improvement during conversations. In the above images we have Ezekiel, Sarah, and Jenna the Vampire all with orbs from “The Eyes of Beauty” mod. Player and NPC updates come in separate files for convenience. If you don’t like the “Dawnguard” vampire eyes, “The Eyes of Beauty Dawnguard Update” is worth installing just for the detailed vampire eyes. No glow, however. Uncheck Babbette.esp in your load unless you notice Babbette vampire has eye trouble. Your game may suffer a bug losing intended vampire eyes (flat glow color or back to hazel instead of red). If you don’t use USKP, get “Vampire Eyes Fix” mod.

Also check out “Lind’s Human Eyes” and “Lind’s Elven Eyes” for options of larger pupil and some interesting iris colors including variations of purple.



Add a feminine touch with “Circlet Replacers for Women” which replaces all female circlets in game including fit for different races. Below is “Companion Selene Kate” showing alternate choices. Her face texture, eyebrows, and hair are from Hello Santa’s “SG Female Textures Renewal”, “SG Female Eyebrows”, and “SG Hairs.” Her circlet is from “KDCirclets” by zzjay.


I like “Better Males” “YoungerFacesMergedWithMenByGeonix” face with “Beards” retexture as shown on my characters, Ezekiel and Regulus, below. For “Brows” I went with standard resolution since it’s four times more detail than original.



This one has HD face. “Coverkhajiits” texture replacers update male and female Khajiit in hi-res or lite versions.


on in-game nudity

Body replacers generally come nude, but include underwear options.

Loin cloths work well for men, but in Skyrim the women get burlap bikinis. I think women should have skirts if not loin cloths, but that would leave them with burlap tops or bare. I’d be fine with topless character, but naked looks natural and more immersive. Nords bathe naked in the woods and aren’t shy when sitting in the sweat lodge.

TES II: Daggerfall included 2-D low-resolution, non-animated drawings of nude men and women, but Bethesda decided to cover up characters in later chapters. Even though TES V: Skryim is rated for mature, adult players, animated bare breasts would possibly cause an uproar in the USA. For some bizarre reason in this country, it is perfectly acceptable to view fictional depictions of extreme violence including gore, decapitation, and mutalation, but the public gets fussy over nudity including famous art.

I consider the body replacers, models, and textures for games as artwork. Not photo-realism. This is fantasy art. I fully support hard-working artists and enjoy their beautiful creations.

Pretty women

Women in Skyrim need to look more feminine. Why should they walk like men? I didn’t want cartoon-ish or voluptuous fantasy-body women; I wanted natural figures. After reviewing a few screenshots, I chose “Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Edition” (CBBE) with the Slim option. Other choices include CBBE Curvy and CBBE Vanilla. Another popular body replacer is “DIMONIZED UNP female body” (UNP) also available in Curvy (UNPC) or Blessed (UNPB) with mods for BBP available.

For a natural appearance, “Mature Skin 2” texture comes with options for older face, freckles, and body scars. Pubic hair choices are natural, trim, and bare. The screen capture below shows v2.11 on a Nord along with rain drops.


Your vampire character with “Dawnguard” DLC may suffer from burnt (darker) face with normal body causing a mismatch. Spending too much time in sunlight burns flesh, and transforming into a Vampire Lord and back is the cure. After installing “Mature Skin” if head is burnt but body isn’t, force the face normal by copying over a pair of face texture files. Replace the two femaleheadvampire files with the matching femalehead files located in Skyrim/Data/textures/actors/character/female/ folder. Or, don’t go out in sunlight.

I didn’t think body physics update would make much difference to gameplay, but after trying it I realized the subtle details really improve immersion. Many of the flowing hair mods don’t look as nice, though, so I’m sticking with static high-res hair. A beautiful woman needs appropriate boob jiggle which means none wearing heavy armor and some bounce when dressed in cloth garment. Body and outfit support for breast-and-butt physics come with several acronyms: BBP, TBBP, and HDT-BBP. Sometimes BPP only includes breasts and is usually the simplest model. I chose to build CBBE HDT for Slim.

To support BBP/TBBP/HDT, I’m using “XP32 Maximum Skeleton Extended 3” (XPMSE 3) and its requirements which include FNIS. As advised on the XPMSE description, install order matters to get boob jiggle working. Follow my tutorial which includes installing dual sheath and feminine walk.

Some leather armors and clothing come with (T)BBP support, and it’s possible to convert other outfits based on build settings with “BodySlide” using “Outfit Studio” converter.


The Dragonborn appears rigid and robotic while sitting and standing. You may fix this with simple replacers, “Pretty Female Idles” and “Pretty Sit Idle”. Both include choices with example pictures when installing using NMM. If you’d like the female characters to walk gracefully, you’ll need FNIS which supports many other animations. Then install “FNIS Sexy Move”. And no, not all walk styles are necessarily sexy. “Sexy Move” offers options in the MCM to ignore certain styles or remember walk style per character. I disabled the character-remember option (pre-v6.0 using “No need to remember NPC assignments”), because it uses number of coins in the inventory which seems like extra clutter. A different walk each meeting is fine with me. Version 6+ uses invisble coins to remember walk style.


Looking for improved NPC beauty? Check out the work by rxkx22 in “Bijin Warmaidens” and “Bijin NPCs”. Some of the characters end up looking a bit different, but many maintain resemblance. Lydia and Uthgerd, pictured below, still remind me of Lydia and Uthgerd. Installation options include entire pack or choose characters to update, and rxkx22 maintains older files for different appearance choices.


The men


I had more trouble deciding on body and texture mods for men. All are better than original so it comes down to features and personal preference. I believe I like “Better males” - “Sundracon” body mesh best. I find “FavoredSoul” out of proportion and cartoon-ish. Lover’s Lab (site includes adult ad images) “Schlongs of Skyrim” (SoS) has its merits, too. SoS supports “SexLab” framework, but it will work as a basic body replacer choosing the SoS - Light version. “DCE - Realistic Male Face” looks great with the “Sundracon” body with less seam. There’s also “Fine Face Textures for Men” to consider which includes texture update for the body to match.


The images above compare “Fine Face” on left with “DCE - Realistic Male Face” on right. Below is a comparison between SoS choices and “Better Males” - Sundracon replacer.


If choosing “Fine Face” install body first and add “Fine Face Textures for Men” (variant 2_0b seems nice) and overwrite the body texture file for seamless neck.

The male Dragonborn may enjoy a more natural sit position with “Pretty Sit Idle”.


Choose a body:

  • Better males Sundracon or FavouredSoul
  • SoS at LoversLab (adult ads)

Choose a face:

How about improved beards textures?

Advanced character edit


More variations and face sculpting may be achived using “RaceMenu” by Expired. More sliders mean more possibilities, but also more complexity. It’s easy to go wrong crafting an elven face. Easy features in “RaceMenu” include the ability to add custom-made overlays for body paint, makeup, or adjust colors. The above image shows an example using minor editing with “RaceMenu” on male and female Altmer (High Elves). In particular, I wanted to tone down the greenish hue to a more golden bronze seen in older TES titles. I added freckles from “Freckle Mania” and some body paint. Using mostly sliders, and minor spot sculpting, I kept the classic TES Altmer feel with a fresh appearance.

Check out “How to Create Beautiful Characters in Skyrim” at levelskip for some great tips.

Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls are trademarks of Bethesda Softworks LLC. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.