I have tried it all and cannot say that I can use Refine Edge/Mask successfully. I have seen tutorials in youtube, in lynda.com, etc and they make it look so simple! I keep getting horrible grayish tones in the edge of hair. Please I am desperate. I am attaching a the mask used, the base image and the resulting image and the settings I used in the Refine Edge dialog box. Tell me what I am doing wrong!!
That should be a reasonably easy selection, but I absolutely agree that Refine Edge is not half as intuitive as the tutorials make out. I'll try and give a few hints that will hopefully put you on the right track.
With an image like the above, think in terms of only using the Refine radius brush on the whispy hair, or little items that protrude from the bulk of the selection. Try to get the rest by using just the sliders and Smart Radius.
When using Quick Select, toggle on and off Quick mask to see if you are missing anything. I much prefer to have Quick mask set up with 'Color indicates selected ares' (double click the quick mask icon at the bottom of the tool bar to change this).
If you suspect you will need to fix the result of Refine Edge, chose to output to 'New layer with layer mask'. Add a new layer below that layer, and fill with a bright colour to increas contrast and help with touching up the Layer mask. You can Shift click the layer mask to temporailly turn it off to reveal anomallies.
If you are going to use the selection in another image, then duplicate the new layer with layer mask to that image. That way you can use the Mask Properties panel to refine the mask and fine tune to the new location.