This might fall under lo yilbash, but at the same time the word “simlat” could exclude things like makeup and earrings. I quite honestly don’t know.

  • Things like this really depend on your locality and what is socially accepted there. In some cultures there is such a thing as makeup for men, consider kohl.
    – ezra
    Jul 19, 2022 at 4:49
  • 3
    The issur of lo silbash includes removing white hairs to look young. That isn’t a “Simla” either
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 19, 2022 at 4:56
  • yeshiva.co/midrash/24207
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 19, 2022 at 5:01
  • 2
    and shave your armpits is also lo ilbash Gemara Nazir
    – kouty
    Jul 19, 2022 at 6:00

2 Answers 2


If you look at Yoreh Deah 182, it mentions that a woman may not wear male clothing (and vice versa). The last halacha there mentions a man dying his white hair black, which is forbidden.

אָסוּר {לְאִישׁ} לְלַקֵּט אֲפִלּוּ שֵׂעָר אֶחָד לָבָן מִתּוֹךְ הַשְּׁחֹרוֹת, מִשּׁוּם לֹא יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר (דברים כב, ה) וְכֵן אָסוּר לְאִישׁ לִצְבֹּעַ {שְׂעָרוֹת לְבָנוֹת שֶׁיִּהְיוּ (בֵּית יוֹסֵף)} שְׁחֹרוֹת, אֲפִלּוּ שַׂעֲרָה אַחַת. וְכֵן אָסוּר לְאִישׁ לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בְּמַרְאָה. {וְעַיֵּן לְעֵיל סִימָן קנ״ו.}

I do not see the difference between dying and makeup especially since I don't think men normally wear makeup. If there is a specific makeup for men that would be something you should ask a Rabbi or if you need to wear makeup for work etc...

Note: Shevet Halevi 3:2 seems to not allow dying hair even if men in general do so... Though there is a disagreement on this point, it appears he holds that dying hair is inherently feminine and general custom can't change this. The question would be if makeup is inherently a feminine action (if so custom could not override that), or if it is just customary for women to wear makeup. This would require Daas Torah not a survey.

Also the Halacha in 182 seems to allow a man dying his black hair white according to a number of Poskim there (Taz etc...). I presume it is because a woman does not beautify herself like that and in fact is the opposite result.

שערות לבנות שיהיו שחורות – שזהו נוי אשה אבל איפכא שהיו שחורות וצבע אותם לבנות שרי אפילו לכתחלה כ״כ ב״י

Perhaps makeup that is meant to disfigure (for use in special effects) could allow for a leniency, but a Rabbi must be consulted especially since certain phases might unintentionally beautify etc...

  • 1
    Also, if it were costume makeup for a stage or film production, that could be different than in daily life.
    – Mike
    Jul 19, 2022 at 5:18
  • @Mike yes that is possible if it is not a feminine way of wearing makeup (as per the end of my answer), but a Rabbi is needed because certain phases or parts might be how a woman uses makeup. For example if someone's eyes are bolded with eye liner etc... or a foundation is put down first etc... Or if it is feminine as I mentioned for work might allow for a leniency but like I said a Rabbi is needed.
    – msj121
    Jul 19, 2022 at 5:21
  • I have definitely seen poskim be meikel on hair dye nowadays because it is normal for men to do it. Jul 19, 2022 at 15:13
  • 1
    @conceptualinertia There are definitely those who disagree as mentioned in the answer, I was trying to highlight there are different categories of Begged Isha. For example, something inherently feminine cannot become okay for a man if men do it. However things may be a matter of custom like certain clothing or jewlery. It would depend on how to classify makeup.
    – msj121
    Jul 20, 2022 at 0:09

H. A.Z. 12:11[10]:

לא תעדה אישה עדי האיש, כגון שתשים בראשה מצנפת או כובע, או שתלבוש שריון וכיוצא בו, או שתגלח ראשה כאיש; ולא יעדה איש עדי אישה, כגון שילבוש בגדי צבעונין וחלי זהב--במקום שאין לובשין אותן הכלים ואין משימים אותו החלי, אלא הנשים: הכול, כמנהג המדינה.

A woman should not adorn herself as a man does - e.g., she may not place a turban or a hat on her head or wear armor or the like. She may not cut [the hair of] her head as men do. A man should not adorn himself as a woman does - e.g., he should not wear colored garments or golden bracelets in a place where such garments and such bracelets are worn only by women. Everything follows local custom.

There is an element of subjectivity baked into the law on this issue. Whether such actions are permitted depends on whether doing so is normative within the local culture.

  • This could perhaps be a question in and of itself, but when does something become a local custom? Jul 19, 2022 at 16:22
  • As regards commerce there is a difference of opinion among the Rishonim as regards to the formation of מנהג המדינה. I don't know if the same model applies here, but these are the basic approaches there: The Rambam (H. Mekhirah 26:7) holds it is function of the reality on the ground as observed, the Ohr Zarua (3, BM, 280) holds that it is formally established by the local hakhamim. Jul 19, 2022 at 16:40
  • If no Jewish men can wear makeup because it isn’t the custom of the land, then unless a lot of men broke the law to make it minhag it would stay begged isha. There’s no way it would change then. Jul 19, 2022 at 17:04
  • I'm more disposed towards seeing this as a function of the local general culture with which Jews interact/participate in. Accordingly, non-Jews shift the dial, then once the respective practice is mainstream, Jews can participate. Jul 19, 2022 at 17:47
  • But what is considered mainstream? Because while there aren’t many men who let’s say paint their nails, it’s not really an issue among many non Jews anymore. Jul 19, 2022 at 19:36

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