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Are men permitted to dye their hair with products such as "Just for Men"? Since these products are made for men specifically, would potential prohibitions of beged isha no longer apply?

3

The Nishmat Avraham treats the topic of a man's dyeing once's hair at length (vol. 2 pp. 94-97). To summarize his key points

  • the key issue is not whether one uses a dying product for men or women, rather it is whether one wants to dye hair for beauty or other reasons
  • it is strictly forbidden to dye one's hair so for beauty reasons for the reason you cite (a derivation of the prohibition for a man not to dress as a woman Devarim 22:5)
  • some poskim allow it when people are ashamed to be seen in public (e.g., R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach allowed it for a 20-year olf whose hair and beard had turned prematurely white) - the basis is that white hair in a young person is a blemish and it is not forbidden to remove a blemish (interesting proviso: he must tell his prospective wife he is dying his hair) - the Minchat Yitzchak ruled similarly in a similar case although others forbid it (e.g., Maharsham, Chelkat Yaakov)
  • the Sridei Eish rules it is permitted when done for a practical reason (but not for beauty), e.g., preventing suffering, financial loss or shame, as the basis for the interdiction is the wish to adorn oneself with a woman's adornment
  • Levush Mordechai, Igrot Moshe and Tzitz Eliezer write similarly in the case of a young man who looked older than his age to find a job

If this is for a practical situation, it is crucial to CYLOR.

PS. Am I the only skeptic to believe the dying products for men are really the same as for women?

  • Re last sentence - No - I also think it's the same as with numerous other podiucts. Antiperspirant is another example. Other than the fragrance, what's the difference? – DanF Feb 22 '16 at 1:35
2

The Talmud in Nazir 58B and 59A treat the subject. Let's try to answer the question. There is 3 consequences to the Law "Lo Ylbash gever Simlath Isha" (For this moment i will avoid to tackle the question of the Deorayta or Derabanan status of the prohibition).

  1. To shave armpit; --> the problem is the result, (independently of the gender whom the shaver is designated (ladyshave or not)).
  2. To dress in women clothes;
  3. To improve his look as women do. --> the result is also the problem.

  4. The Gemoro Shabbath (94B) teach a Berayta.
    A man that pull out the white Hairs is Loyke (mideOrayta if it is distinguishable {Kessef Mishne Avodath Kochavim 12,10}). Rashi says that is because it is a female behavior.(Rashi Maccoth 20A, because he embellish itself as a women)
    2 observations: What is the meaning of dying one's hair. Is for beauty, for employment?
    What is the meaning of tinge for men. Is it different from pluck gray hairs? Is it permitted with tweezers for man?!

If it is prohibited to dye the hairs, the title "for men only" doesn't help. later we will see the status of the interdiction.

The Shulhan Aruch (YD 182, 6)follows the Rambam. To dye 1 hair is Hayav Malkuth deOrayata. The fact that they sell such color for men they search beauty do not change anything.
But perhaps, following Tosfoth in Nazir (59A "גבול יש") explanations that if the intention is other than beauty, it may be permitted.

Dye his beard: Nazir 39AB:

ותניא ותו כד צבעי סביא דיקנהון חוורןעיקבי נימהון

I know that it is not a proof, but it relates an habit to dye the beard. In this case we point a specific viril pattern of the beauty as the verse specify in an other context. The verse aims to arms, as saber or an armor.

A little question: the Gemoro BK 60B says in a parable that a man had two wives. One pulled out the white hairs and the second pulled out the blacks. Between them they made him bald. It is not allowed, perhaps they do not ask him his permission and it was is against his will.

  • 1
    The parable was designed to show what could happen if a man has two wives. The older pulled out the black and the younger pulled out the white. The mashal is that two wives lead to strife in the household. – sabbahillel Feb 19 '16 at 13:28
  • Of course I don't want to say minhag but point (משמעות). The mashal is rapported in honor of purim but also for the baya of lo takifu, women that makes this to man – kouty Feb 19 '16 at 14:16
  • Many business interviews and transactions require beautiful hair (sometimes just hair, even if not beautiful) and neat appearance. How would dyeing hair be any different from wearing a wig (which might also be considered "begged isha") be any different in such a case? – DanF Feb 19 '16 at 14:43
  • @DanF "google is your friend" There are references to sites that say that one can dye ones hair if it is required to get employment. However for vanity it is not allowed. – sabbahillel Feb 19 '16 at 15:27
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    @kouty I have no idea what that even means. Beged Ish(a) is a prohibition that is determined by local norms, cf Rambam AZ 12:10. – Double AA Feb 22 '16 at 2:12

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