Cosmetics

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Background

  1. With so many new cosmetics on the market today the question of using these products on Shabbos becomes very relevant. Some background information may shed some light on what the possible problems may be in regards to Hilchos Shabbos. One Melacha to be aware of, is the act of dyeing (Tzoveya), which was done to color the curtains of the Mishkan[1], the second is the act of smoothing (Memachaik) which was done to finish the leather of the coverings of the Mishkan.
  2. While the Biblical prohibition of dyeing is only something that will be colored permanently, there is still a Rabbinic prohibition on creating a temporary coloring effect. Therefore, cosmetics such as: rouges, lipsticks, eye shadow, and others which add color to the skin albeit for a short amount of time, are still forbidden to use on Shabbos. [2]

Soap

  1. According to Chacham Ovadia Yosef, it is permitted to use a bar of soap or liquid soap on shabbat because one has no intention of changing anything. One only intends clean what he is washing. [3]
  2. According to Chacham Ben-Zion Abba-Shaul, one may not use a bar of soap but one may use liquid soap on shabbat. [4] Aruch HashulchanRabbi Yechiel Michel Halevi Epstein (1829-1908). He was a community rabbi and a posek in Novardok, Lithuania. 326:11 and Ketzot Hashulchan 146:32 agree. Kitzur Hilchot Shabbat pg. 74 says this is the common practice. see also Shemirat Shabbat Kihilchita 14:16.
  3. According to Rabbi Moshe FeinsteinRabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), Lithuanian Rav who became one of the leading authorities of his generation in North America, author of Sh"t Iggerot Moshe, Dibrot Moshe on Gemara, and Darash Moshe on the Torah., it is forbidden to use a bar of soap and it is forbidden to use liquid soap on shabbat. [5]

Cutting Nails or Hair

  1. It is forbidden to cut nails or hair on shabbat or sever them in any way. [6]

Lipstick

  1. It is forbidden for a woman to apply lipstick on shabbat. [7]

Powder

  1. Many Poskim permit women applying non-sticky powder to their faces on Shabbat, however, other poskim forbid this act. Nevertheless, all agree that applying sticky powder is forbidden. [8]

Nail varnish

  1. It is forbidden to apply or remove nail varnish on shabbat. [9]

Combing hair

  1. Regarding combing one's hair on Shabbat, see the Getting Dressed on Shabbat page.

Braiding hair

  1. It is forbidden to braid hair on shabbat. [10]

Perfume

  1. It is permitted to apply perfume onto the human body but it is forbidden to apply perfume onto clothing on shabbat. [11]

Nail polish

  1. It is forbidden to use nail polish on Shabbat whether it is a colored nail polish or clear polish as the shine adds a pleasant finish to the nail, and is enhancing the natural color of the nail which is included in Tzovaya[12].
  2. It is for this same reason, that one would be prohibited from using (i.e. crest) whitening strips. Once again it is also for this same reason that one is prohibited from using fade creams that are of the same color as one's natural skin, even if it is being used just to cover up blemishes.[13]

Blush powders

  1. While there are some Poskim who give a hashgocha on certain blush powders to be used on Shabbos, majority of the powders on the market are oil based which therefore causes the blush to be absorbed by the skin which would make it Tzovaya[14]. Therefore, unless one has a hechsher on a particular product, one should assume that all cosmetic rouge powders are forbidden for use on Shabbos.[15]

Sun-Tanning

  1. Some Poskim go as far as to prohibit intentional suntanning as this leaves a permanent color on the skin[16]. [It should be noted that not all Poskim concur with this ruling, and everyone holds that it is permitted to merely sit outside if there is no intention of tanning, even if one will be pleased with the results.][17]

Makeup removal

  1. While putting on makeup, is in many cases ossur, removing it is permitted. However, it is preferable to be use a disposable tissue, so as to avoid questions of coloring the cloth or towel being used[18]. One should also avoid using nail polish remover[19].

Smoothing cremes

  1. As stated above there is another concern aside for coloring, when dealing with lotions and that is Memachek (smoothing). Therefore, the use of lipstick or even non colored chap stick are prohibited under this Melacha[20]. Skin blemish concealers, hand creams (Nivea, Eucerin),Vaseline, rouge creams, moisturizers, toothpaste, lotions and the like are all prohibited under Memachek as well[21].

Lotions

  1. As long as the lotion has a thin and pourable consistency like that of oil[22] it would be permitted to use (providing that it is not medicinal, as then one would have to ask a shailo regarding the Refuah aspect). Therefore, one may apply most forms of sunblock lotion on an infant (or himself for that matter) as they are of very loose consistency.[23]

Credits

  1. Special thanks to Rabbi Heshy Kahn for this article.

Common questions

  1. Is it permissible to use Crest whitening strips on Shabbos? See above #Nail polish.

Sources

  1. Rashi Parshas Terumah 25:5 D"h Meadamim
  2. Rambam Hilchos Shabbos 22:23, S.A. 303:25, Mishna Brurah 303:79, Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11)
  3. Sh"t Yechave Daat 2:50
  4. Sh"t Or Litzion 2:35:5, Rabbi Eli Mansour
  5. Sh"t Igrot Moshe OC 1:113
  6. SA, Orach Chaim, 340.1
  7. Yabia Omer 6.37, Igrot Mosher Orach Chaim 1.114, Menuchat Ahava 13.6
  8. Yechave Daat 4.28, Menichat Ahava 13.7
  9. Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchata 1.158, Yalkut Yosef 4.2.102
  10. Mishna Brurah 303.27
  11. Mishna Brurah 125.23
  12. Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchosa 14:footnote 152
  13. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11)
  14. Igros Moshe O.C. 1:
  15. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11)
  16. Minchas Yitzchok 5:32
  17. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11)
  18. M.B. 320:59
  19. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata (vol 3, chap 14, note 79)
  20. Igros Moshe O.C. 1:114
  21. Rashi (Shabbos 146b D"h Mishchah), Rambam (Shabbat 13:11), S"A 314:11, Mishna Brurah 314:45, Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11)
  22. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11) quoting R' Nosson Kupshitz Shlita
  23. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11) quoting R' Nosson Kupshitz Shlita