May one spray/apply oil or hair spray on their hair on Shabbos?

May one spray[1]/apply oil or hair spray on their hair on Shabbos?[2]

Introduction: Different forms of hairspray are used on the hair for various purposes. Some are used to give the hairy shiny look, others are used to harden a hairdo, others are used to give a good smell to the hair, while others are used simply to weigh down the hair so it doesn’t frizzle.[3] This Halacha will discuss the use of the various types of hairsprays and whether or not it is permitted to be used on Shabbos.

Spray used to make or harden hairstyle: It is [Rabbinically[4]] forbidden to braid one’s hair [or make a hairdo or hair style[5]] on Shabbos due to the building prohibition.[6] Accordingly, it is forbidden to make, or even finish off, a hairdo or hairstyle on Shabbos using hair spray.[7] Furthermore, some Poskim[8] rule that it is likewise forbidden to spray oil, or hair spray, on one’s hair in order to harden an already present hairstyle or hairdo, and make it stick. This prohibition applies even if a brush or comb is not used, and one is simply spraying it on an already made hairstyle. This prohibition applies likewise towards spraying curled Peiyos or a styled wig/Sheital.[9] According to this opinion, the spray is considered Muktzah, as it is a Keli Shemilachto Leissur. Other Poskim[10], however, rule that there is no prohibition to spray oil or water on the hair if a comb or brush will not be used to form or finish off the hairdo. Practically, those who are lenient have upon whom to rely[11], although it is proper for one to be stringent.

Spray used to weigh down hair, or separate strands and help comb hair: There is no prohibition involved in spraying the hair with a small amount of water or oil for the sake of weighing it down, so it doesn’t frizzle, and not for the sake of hardening the hairdo or combing the hair.[12] Likewise, it is permitted to spray the hair with oil or special hair spray which is used in order to separate the strands of hair and prevent the hair from sticking to each other.[13] [Seemingly, this is permitted even if one plans to afterwards comb the hair together in a valid method on Shabbos, such as with ones hands or Shabbos brush.[14] However, some Poskim[15] are stringent to prohibit this.]

Hair color dyeing spray:[16] According to all, it is forbidden to spray the hair with a hair color dyeing spray which is used to dye the hair, due to the dyeing prohibition.

A hair shine spray: Some Poskim[17] rule that it is permitted to spray the hair with a spray which is made for the purpose of shining the hair, and not for the sake of hardening a hairdo. It is thus permitted to place a small amount of oil on the hair on Shabbos [and brush it in a permitted way].[18] [There is no smearing prohibition involved in smearing liquid oil on the hair or body on Shabbos[19], although one must beware not to squeeze the hair in the process.] Other Poskim[20], however, rule that it is forbidden to spray the hair with a shine due to the dyeing prohibition. According to their opinion, it is forbidden to use an oil spray on the hair on Shabbos as its sole purpose is to shine the hair.[21]

A gel or cream spray:[22] According to all, it is forbidden to smear a gel or cream on the hair, due to the Mimareich prohibition.

A scented, perfumed, spray:[23] It is forbidden to spray the hair with a good smelling spray for the sake of scenting the hair.[24] It goes without saying that it is forbidden to do so to a wig/Sheital.[25]

Avoiding the squeezing prohibition:[26] Those who are lenient to spray the hair with oil or water, must be careful not to squeeze they’re here in the process, due to the Rabbinical squeezing prohibition.[27]



A. Hairsprays may be used on Shabbos for the following purposes:

1. To weigh down frizzle hair [i.e. water-based spray].

2. To separate the strands of hair [although some prohibit combing it afterwards]

B. It is forbidden to use hairsprays for the following purposes:

1. To comb the hair into a hairstyle or comb it to solidify a hair style

2. To dye the hair.

3. To create a good scent in the hair.

C. It is under debate whether hairsprays may be used for the following purposes:

1. To harden or strengthen a hairdo. [Practically, one is to stringent.]  

2. To comb the hair and make it look nice.

*In all cases it is forbidden to smeared a gel or cream on the hair.

**in all cases is it is forbidden to squeeze liquid from the hair


[1] This Halacha does not delve into the general question of using sprays on Shabbat and as to whether it transgresses the Zoreh prohibition. practically the majority approach amongst Poskim is to be lenient. [See Minchas Yitzchak 6:26]

[2] See Beir Moshe 1:19 and 34; SSH”K 14:56-57; Shabbos Kehalacha vol. 3 18:62-65 and Biurim 11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:19

[3] Hair spray (also hair lacquer or spritz) is a common cosmetic hairstyling product that is sprayed onto hair to hold the hair style in place and protect against humidity and wind. Hair sprays typically consist of several components for the hair as well as a propellant. Common ingredients of a hair spray include alcohol and polymers, similar to those found in paint and glue but are flexible and fast-drying. The formulation makes the shafts of hair stick together. Besides holding your hairstyle in place, there are many things that a hair spray can do. 1) Finishing hold: The application of this product leaves your hair with a stronger hold which stays all day. 2) For styling: You can apply the spray as you work with your locks for styling, even when they are wet. 3) Tame unruly strands: You can tame unruly strands of hair by simply spraying hair spray into your hands and then using it to smooth hair. 4) For oily hair: You can hide fringes that appear oily by using a hair spray. 5) For more volume: If you want to give your hair more volume, hair spray can help you do so. [See here: *This website, as well as all unknows sites, should be viewed in a browser with pictures disabled, in order to protect from immodest pictures that may potentially be on site.]

[4] P”M 303 A”A 20; M”B 303:82; Rambam 20; Chachamim in Mishneh ibid; The following Poskim rule like Chachomim regarding makeup, and the same applies to a braid: Implication of Michaber 303:25 and Admur 320:27; M”A 303:19; Olas Shabbos 303:19; M”B 303:79; See Biur Halacha 303:25 “Mishum Tzoveia”; Kaf Hachaim 303:115-116

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is even Biblically forbidden to do so. [Rebbe Eliezer in Mishneh ibid, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 303:66; The following Poskim rule like Rebbe Eliezer regarding makeup, and the same applies to a braid: Elya Raba 303:40 in name of Rishonim who rule like Rebbe Eliezer in Mishneh ibid; Yireim, brought in Nishmas Adam; Semag; Ran; Ravan; See Biur Halacha ibid and Kaf Hachaim ibid]

The reason behind those who hold it is Biblically forbidden: Although it is farfetched to consider a hair braid similar to building a building, nevertheless, the Torah itself testifies that it is considered a category of building, as the verse states “Vayiven Hashem Elokim Es Hatzela” and the Sages teach that Hashem made a braid for Chava and presented her to Adam Harishon, and thus we see that a braid in the Torah is referred to as building. [Shabbos 95a; M”B 303:82]

Difference between doing it to a friend and to oneself: The Gemara Shabbos 95a differentiates between if a woman makes a braid on her own hair, in which case she is exempt [even according to the approach of Rebbe Eliezer], and only when she makes a braid on her friend’s hair is she liable, as only then is the braid nice and beautiful.

[5] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:16

[6] Michaber 303:26; Mishneh Shabbos 94b “Hagodeles”; See “Topics in Practical Halacha” Volume 2 O.C. 45

The reason: This is forbidden due to the building prohibition, as it is similar to building, and hence the Sages prohibited it. [M”A 303:20; M”B ibid; based on Shabbos 95a] This is supported in the Torah, as the verse states “Vayiven Hashem Elokim Es Hatzela” and the Sages teach that Hashem made a braid for Chava and presented her to Adam Harishon, and thus we see that a braid in the Torah is referred to as building. [Shabbos 95a; Machatzis Hashekel 303:20; M”B 303:82] It is not Biblically forbidden due to building, as the building prohibition only applies to structures. It is also not Biblically forbidden due to weaving, as this prohibition only applies a) To matters that are not attached to a person or the ground, and b) To a weaving that lasts and is permanent. [M”A 303:20; M”B 303:82; Tosafos Shabbos 94b] Regarding why it does not transgress the tying prohibition-see Or Sameach on Rambam 10:8 and Shevet Halevi 1:101

[7] Shut Rivash 394, brought in M”A 303:23 and Biur Halacha 303:27 “Lachuf that even if the hairdo was already made it is still forbidden to finish it off using a comb and oil to make the hair stick. See next footnote

[8] Minchas Yitzchak Likkutei Teshuvos 26; Beir Moshe 1:19; 34; SSH”K 14:56; Shabbos Kehalacha 18:63; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Possible understanding of M”A 303:23 in name of Shut Rivash 394, based on Rashi Shabbos 94b, brought in Biur Halacha 303 “Lachuf”, that the Talmudic prohibition of Pokeses is to comb the hair using a come or brush that has been washed with an oil water mixture, in order to help the hair stick to each other, is this a similar to building. The above Poskim understand based on Rashi Shabbos ibid that this prohibition of the Rivash applies even if a comb is not used and one simply sprays the hair with oil in order to strengthen a hair [and so is the possible implication of Machatzis Hashekel and P”M 303 A”A 23 on their explanation of the qualification of M”A ibid].

[9] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; SSH”K 14:56 and footnote 146  

[10] Leaning ruling of Tehila Ledavid 303:13 [either due to his understanding of M”A or due to Setimas Haposkim who rule like Tosafus]; Setimas Haposkim [other than M”A ibid] who all omit the above ruling of Rivash ibid; Possible understanding of M”A 303:23 who concludes that “Ubelav Hachi Shari”, which can be explained to mean that even the Rivash was only stringent if one uses a comb to brush the hair with the oil, and not if one simply uses his hands or oil spray, and so understands Tehila Ledavid 303:13 in the M”A ibid [however, see Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid and P”M 303 A”A 23 who do not learn this way in M”A; See also Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 116]; So applies according to Tosafus Shabbos 94b who rules that there is no prohibition to straighten the hair on the head using oil, even if a brush is used; Avnei Yashpei 5:60; See Shabbos Kehalacha 18 Biurim 11

[11] Avnei Yashpei 5:60

[12] See Biur Halacha 303:27 “Lachuf” and Shabbos Kehalacha 18:65 that a minor Tikkun is permitted, and thus most certainly here where there is no hairdo being made or strengthened through the spray, there is no reason to prohibit it other than the worry that one may come to squeeze the hair, and thus in order to avoid this worry a large amount is not to be used.

[13] Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:19; See SSH”K 14:54 in name of Rav SZ”A who permit spraying oil on the hair and the same would apply here; However, according to those Poskim who prohibit using oil on the hair either due to the shining prohibition, or squeezing prohibition, or hair do prohibition, the same would apply here

[14] As the prohibition of the Rivash ibid only applies when solidifying a hairstyle and here one is neither solidifying a hairstyle or creating one with the brush. [See Shabbos Kehalacha 18 footnote 148]

[15] Beir Moshe 1:19 vehemently prohibits this due to the Boneh prohibition and understands this case to be under the same prohibition as the case of the Rivash [However, see Shabbos Kehalacha ibid who questions his assertion]; Chelkas Yaakov O.C. 21 [due to squeezing prohibition]

[16] Shabbos Kehalacha 3:18-62

[17] Beir Moshe 1:34 [however, see Beir Moshe 1:19]; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid [however, see Shabbos Kehalacha 18 footnote 145 who questions his ruling]

[18] SSH”K 14:54 in name of Rav SZ”A [however see Shabbos Kehalacha 18 footnote 147 for his questions on this ruling due to the ]

[19] See Shulchan Aruch chapter 327

[20] Shabbos Kehalacha 18:64-65 based on Rav SZ”A in SSH”K 14 footnote 152 who prohibits using shiny transparent nail polish and the same would apply here; Chelkas Yaakov O.C. 21 [due to squeezing prohibition]; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 76 and 122

[21] Shabbos Kehalacha ibid footnote 147

[22] Cheshev Haeiphod 3:15; SSH”K 14:54; Piskeiy Teshuvos 303 footnote 116; See Mamar Mordechai 303:10; Zera Emes 2 Y.D. 89; Az Nidbaru 2:78; Yabia Omer 4:28

[23] Beir Moshe 1:34; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid and footnote 123

[24] See Admur 511:7; Taz 511:8; Halachos Ketanos 1:19; Ben Ish Chaiy 2 Tetzaveh 11; Rav Poalim 2:51; Shoel Umeishiv Tinyana 2:7; Minchas Yitzchak 6:26 [see below in opinion of M”B]; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 128:44 and 511:44 and so concludes the Kaf Hachaim ibid; Magen Avraham 511:11; 128:8  prohibits placing the secnt into the water, although he does not mention if this prohibition applies even if the scent was placed from before Shabbos.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the prohibition of Molid Reiach does not to one’s skin being the smell does not last, and it is hence permitted to place perfume/cologne on the body on Shabbos. [Chacham Tzevi 92; Elya Raba 128:8; Ginas Veradim 3:16; Nechpah Bakesef 4; Shaareiy Teshuvah 511:4; Mishneh Berurah 128:23 and so is implied from 511:28; Beir Moshe 1:34 rules one may be lenient by skin, although one who is stringent is blessed; SSH”K 14:32 rules leniently that perfume may be applied anywhere on one’s body, as learns the Chacham Tzevi, as brought in M”B] Accordingly, some Poskim rule that one may be lenient to spray hair with a good smell. [SSH”K 14:56] Other Poskim, however, rule that is forbidden according to all opinions being that hair is considered like clothing to which all agree there is a prohibition of Molid Reiach. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 327:1, See Minchas Yitzchak ibid.]

[25] Admur 321:7; Taz 321:7; SSH”K 14:57; See also Admur 511:7; Michaber 511:4; Shmuel in Beitza 22b; Rashal Beitza 2:34; Taz 511:8; implication of M”A 511:10; Kuntrus Achron 511:1 based on proof from many Rishonim [Ramban; Ran; Rosh; Rif]; Neziros Shimshon; Mamar Mordechai

[26] SSH”K 14:54; Shabbos Kehalacha 18:65; Piskeiy Teshuvos 303:19 and footnote 116; See Chelkas Yaakov O.C .21 that for this reason it is best to completely avoid using it on Shabbat

[27] See Admur 326:6; M”A 326:8; M”B 326:21

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