What are the halachic issues involved in hair dyeing for women? Most importantly, does hair dye constitute a chatzitza for mikvah?

Also: are there any communities that forbid hair dyeing altogether? A book I am reading mentions anecdotally that it is forbidden in Satmar; is that so anywhere else, and why?

  • But a temporary tattoo (skin transfer, not henna) is chatzitza, no?
    – SAH
    Feb 16, 2012 at 2:03
  • Don't many/most? married Satmar women shave their heads anyhow, making this a moot point? (Well I suppose single girls... and I could see why a Bais Yaakov type school would feel it's not appropriate for a fourteen-year-old girl, but those are meta-halachic concerns.)
    – Shalom
    Feb 16, 2012 at 9:28

3 Answers 3


From the Shiurim of Rav Baruch Gigi of Yeshivat Har Etzion

The Rashba (Torat Ha-bayit Ha-katzar 32b) wrote in a similar vein about a woman who dyed her hair: "It [the coloring] is now part of the hair, like dye is part of a colored garment. Dye is not considered a separate thing that is a chatzitza, but part of the garment itself that does not impede the immersion [of the garment]." Rashi (Eiruvin 4b) writes that an obstruction that one is not particular about does not impede the immersion because it becomes "part" of the person's own body.

  • I haven't seen the Rashba/Rashi, but from your words, they sound like different reasons. Let's say a woman colored her hair, but now wants it back to her natural hair color. Acc. to Rashba,there is no chatziza. Acc. to Rashi, there is.
    – YDK
    Feb 16, 2012 at 18:21

Shulchan Aruch Y"D 198:17-

צבע שצובעות הנשים על פניהן וידיהן ושער ראשן, אינו חוצץ.

(My translation) "Color that women use to color on their faces, hands, and hair of their heads, is not chotzetz."

Maran doesn't seem to object to the practice of women coloring their hair; i doubt he would have written dinnim about it if it was assur.

  • Funny, because a big part of the instruction given at the mikvah seems to be to be sure to "remove all makeup and nail polish." If these are not chotzetz, I wonder why that is taken so seriously? And if the mikvah ladies are just being extra machmir, then why is hair dye not subject to the same instruction (not that it would be practical...)? This is why I don't quite accept this answer.
    – SAH
    Feb 16, 2012 at 3:22
  • 1
    @SAH, remove all makeup and nail polish is a matter of good policy. Depending on the type of makeup, there can be room for leniency in cases of need. I heard R' Dovid Miller mention a newlywed bride who had to attend sheva brachos Friday night and then go to mikva, she lived in a world where if she didn't have makeup on that would be a public proclamation -- she got a heter.
    – Shalom
    Feb 16, 2012 at 9:04
  • I don't know for sure, but i have assumed that the reason make-up removal is recommended/required by mikvaos is that women are very particular about their "accessories" and may have something at the time that she didn't notice but is choshesh for. Although normally we would not take this circumstance into account, we are stricter by tevila for nidos.
    – YDK
    Feb 16, 2012 at 18:00

Just to add to Gershon's point: there's a serious problem for a man to dye his turning-grey-or-white hairs black, as it's "feminine practice." Implying that it was normal for women to dye their hair!

  • Great Kol Sheken! +1 Feb 16, 2012 at 2:05
  • 1
    Just because it's common, I don't see how that makes it less of a Hatzitzah. Gershon's answer stands on its own, and I'm not challenging that, but I am not convinced that this is relevant or serves to strengthen his argument.
    – Seth J
    Feb 16, 2012 at 2:11
  • 1
    @vram oh, that makes sense. Ok, disregard.
    – Seth J
    Feb 16, 2012 at 2:21
  • Does that mean it was normal for Jewish women to dye?
    – msh210
    Feb 16, 2012 at 17:34

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