I remember when I used to stay with my girlfriends for Shabbos in Washington Heights. There was a point, right before candle lighting on Friday night, when all the girls would squeeze in together between the wall and the big claw-foot tub to put on their makeup in front of the medicine cabinet mirror. They used outrageous amounts of makeup, they said, because they planned on sleeping in it and would still be made-up the next day.
I didn’t get it. Not because I wasn’t Jewish but because I’ve never really had to wear very much makeup. I go days, if not weeks without out. I often only wear it to events or because sometimes, I like to think it makes me look older and people will take me more seriously if I wear it. Yeah, I know, don’t you feel so sorry for me? Anyway, I think it makes me look at least over 18 though the taxi driver who took me to the doctor yesterday asked me if I was legal age anyway. AND I was wearing please-make-me-look-tanner bronzer plus some reddish lipstick. (Note: I had to specify “legal age” because in LA, if you’re Hispanic everyone thinks you’re probably illegal. Nice.)
Anyway! So, after contemplating that despite my youthful skin, I get blemishes if I forget to remove any makeup before going to bed, I wonder what people who REALLY need and want to put on makeup do on Shabbos without breaking out into junior high school size zits. I can’t even imagine my own mother, much less other people’s, without makeup. As little kids, my sister and I used to lie on our stomachs on my mother’s bed and watch the big production that went into my mother putting on makeup…right down to the mixing of the foundation to match the incredibly unique shade of her skin.
My mother would not have survived Shabbos without makeup. And for that matter, neither would most of my friends. Especially, the one who says whenever she sees my blemish-free skin everday it makes her want to slap me. Jealous, much? If it helps, I got a zit this month. Or a mosquito bite, is it? Right between the eyebrows, too.
So, I finally broke down and asked a rabbi, feeling particular self-conscious and narcisstic. This is why there is now a Yoetzet Halacha in LA. I mean, do I really want to ask my rabbi about makeup? Does he want me to ask him? NO. Please, let me ask a woman who might understand what I’m talking about, you know? Anyway, one rabbi finally muttered something about SHABBOS MAKEUP but he was about the third rabbi who refused to explain it to me. “TOO COMPLICATED.” All I got was: “POWDERS.” And…”FORGET ABOUT IT.” So, I figured that was it. For everything you’d normally use, you’d use powdered stuff, right? Oh, no, dear. Is ANYTHING ever that simple?
After watching this video below, “Look Beautiful and Follow Halacha” I decided that I hope to make it to old age without needing or wanting to put on makeup on Shabbos because I don’t think I could do it without breaking it. Sheesh, too complicated is right!
(Alright, I’m sure like anything else Jewish law/halacha-related Shabbos makeup takes practice so somewhere down the line I’ll be squeezing between the tub and the wall and trying to follow this video like my life…or really Shabbos…depends on it.