Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dr. Strangesmell (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 3 Day Chag)

For those of you who weren't here in the early days of the blog (last year), go check out the heinousness of my first 3 day yontif observance last year. 

Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to another season of 3 day chags.

Minus a date with a minor back injury on some wet stairs, this chag went well. And baruch Hashem for good people and a good community! A move to the big city has really made a tremendous difference in how I feel about Shabbat and holidays!

But I still have some questions. I need your practical tips and advice: how do I avoid being disgusting on yom tov? I read the Laws of Yom Tov, and I tried a few things and failed. I feel like I become smelly and get greasy hair very quickly compared to the average person, and that significantly affects my simchas yom tov. 

How do you cope with this issue? There is a wide variation in halachic rulings on these issues, but I am interested in ALL your tips and tricks! Even if a particular item might not be something within my own hashkafah, it might be useful to another reader. (I am particularly interested in bathing and make-up tricks, vain creature that I am.)


  1. You can shower and wash your hair on chag. Not on Shabbos.

    1. What if you don't want to take a cold shower? Washing hair under cold water is especially unbearable...

  2. I HATE not taking a shower. Last night I was ranting about it--after my first shower in 3 days! On Shabbbos and Yontif we're supposed to be as if we are before the King (this is how it is always explained to me) and all I can say is this - if the King wee coming to my house I would want my house, my children and my own body clean!!! The last thing I'd be doing is going without a shower and make up.

    This is something I doubt I will ever get. I just throw up my hands and do it anyhow. ok so I grumble under my breath next to all my other mommy friends. lol the grumbling to each other helps us get through the difficult days of staying home with restless children who are bored to death while our husbands are at shul for more than half the day.

    I need to really ask a shilah on this one, but it always slips my mind. My face will break out in a painful zitty, rashy mess (I know, gross) if I don't wash it/put lotion on in the winter). So I do this with the only soap that doesn't break me out. I use lotion and chapsticks as "medically necessary" only.

    Make up? well... I just hope I blend in with all the other greasy, make-up-less people. I haven't yet seen a medically necessary reason for makeup.

    Hair? aha! that is the beauty of covering your hair! My hair was a disgusting, itchy mess yesterday, as were that of all my friends. Last night my divorced friend who no longer covers told me that it was one thing she really missed about covering - that you can hide your greasy hair on yontif.

    So my solution to you is to enjoy the single yontif days because it's only harder with husband and kids.

    Now how's that for encouraging!? ;) I think it's the best I can offer at the moment because my nerves are worn thin from this 3 day Chag. heh

    1. Originally posted: October 2, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Elle, that sounds awful :(

      Bethany, the holdings I have now allow me to shower, but like Shabbos, still can't wring my hair or brush it while it's wet. Also, that would remove what little of my make-up makes it through sleep, which is a deal-breaker for me. (I promise I'm not normally so vain, but I have my reasons when it comes to make-up.) I tried to wash my hair to see how I could do it without wringing and brushing,'s basically pointless with long hair. All in all, FAIL McFAIL.

  3. As for the greasy hair problem, try a dry shampoo. You can get it in a shake-on container, like baby powder, but it doesn't leave any white residue behind.

    For make-up, that's a harder one. For the face, I've heard layering your concealer, foundation, and powder VERY carefully, then using a cream shadow & blush, and waterproof/smudge proof mascara or lash tint, and a lip stain. There's a million of them, out by cover girl, etc. THEN set everything with translucent powder (just avoid your lips, because the lip stain will stay fine on its own).

    Some ladies even set their face with a fine mist of hair spray, or this stuff called Supermodel in a Bottle, which is a sealant.

    If you're not wearing a lot of makeup and just want to refresh your skin and get rid of a little oiliness, what about a spritz bottle of witch hazel or rose water or something, that you can blot with a tissue?? Check with your LOR... but since the Shabbat Makeup peeps include a spray-on makeup remover and that's kosher, but I'm not an expert, so definitely check.

  4. Hi there! Have you noticed that on the 'Hebrew Word Of The Day' gadget that's displayed on the right-hand column of your site, the Hebrew word is spelled backward and reads from left to right?

    1. Originally posted: October 3, 2011 at 2:17 AM

      Schvach, that must be your computer/browser because it's fine on mine! Hahahha...good catch though!

  5. This year, I picked out all my outfits pre-yontif and shook baby powder in all 'critical' areas and in my 'foundation garments'. It may be totally in my head, but I felt much cleaner and fresher. (At least the smell of baby powder covers any other smells.)

    I applied LOTS of dry shampoo at my roots pre-yontif. That seemed to help with the hair issues. Plus, a satin pillow case keeps the hair fairly neat while sleeping.

    I have no idea what to do about make-up... I did a home facial before the holiday, and just skipped it. I was a lot happier not trying to fight it.

  6. Ok. Tried this comment before and it disappeared...

    My new trick is to pick out all my clothing pre-yontif and sprinkle lots of baby powder in all 'critical' areas an in all 'foundation garments'. It might be in my head, but I felt much fresher and cleaner. (At least baby powder smell covers other smells.)

    I use LOTS of dry shampoo at my roots before the holiday and I put my hair up in a french twist. If you sleep on a satin pillow case, it stays well for the three days. (The dry shampoo absorbs lots of ick.)

    I have no idea what to do about makeup... I just did home facials the week before (so my skin would be in optimal condition) and skipped makeup completely. I was a lot happier, not trying to fight that battle.

    Honestly, I think everyone is so focused on their own appearance that they don't even notice others anyway.

  7. I shower (without wringing out my hair) and use conditioner so that the tangles fall out of my hair without brushing. I use a rosewater-glycerin spray instead of face cream and powder foundation and blush. Maybe when I'm covering my hair, I'll do without showers but the greasiness is too overwhelming for me at this point.

  8. You are allowed to take hot showers on Yom Tov, according to many poskim. The source for not allowing it stems from the fact that in the olden days, people commonly bathed once a week, and it wasn't considered a general yom tov need to bathe ("davar hashaveh lekol nefesh"). Times (and plumbing) have changed and people commonly do bathe several times weekly, if not daily.
    The only restrictions that apply to yom tov are using only liquid soap (not bar), and not wringing towels or long hair. Just put on your bathrobe normally after a shower and let your hair dry naturally.
    As for makeup, you can use long-lasting makeup before the holiday, and carefully wash your face around it. However, leaving oil makeup on your face can cause irritation and pimples. Just don't bother fussing with makeup. What's the big deal? Just put on a big happy carefree smile! You will be more beautiful than ever!

    1. Originally posted: October 3, 2011 at 2:19 AM

      Suzanne, you are on a higher level than me :) Due to issues I don't like to discuss publicly, I really only feel comfortable with make-up on. Though the goal is generally to look like I'm NOT wearing any, LOL...

      Good suggestions, everyone! Others feel free to keep adding!

  9. With the exception of lipstick and mascara, there is makeup in loose powder form which should solve your problems. The Bare Minerals sets are well worth the money and I use them all the time. You may skip the primer (which might be a problem during yom tov/shabbat depending on how you hold) and the coverage is still excellent with the bonus that it shouldn't clog up pores like liquid or cream coverage. Same goes for blush, eye shadow and liner. The liner part takes some practice but works. For lips, would dabbing (instead of the normal rubbing) on lip gloss work for you?

  10. This is my first time reading this blog. I'm currently a patrilineal convert candidate, but I have been observant for a couple of years now. In terms of taking a shower, poskim agree that you can on Yamim Tovim. Some say you can't use heated water to wash your entire body, others say you can use lukewarm to wash your entire body because the standards for how often most people shower have changed. A lot of it comes down to what your supervising rabbi says. And if you don't have a rabbi that you go to for questions, I recommend that you find one because there are a lot of rulings out there that are debatable. When showering you can not use a bar of soap, due to the melachah of memachek (smoothing), so liquid body soap is a must (without a sponge of wash cloth of course). Washing the hair is difficult, and often time consuming. I pour liquid shampoo in my hand and use my finger tips to carefully rub the scalp, and allow the suds to flow down to the end of my hair. Some poskim believe that shampoo and liquid soap is still too thick and have the consistency of a paste (which is not allowed), so some say to use a watered down version that was watered down before the Yom Tov. In terms of conditioner, I have not found a conditioner that is watery enough to use on a Yom Tov and not be considered a paste. I use a spray in liquid detangler on the ends of my hair (which tangle easily), and rinse it out (even though the original instructions say not to). Once out of the shower, you are not able to squeeze or brush the hair, so you just wait with sopping wet hair until it dries (I usually change into t-shirts to wait for that).

    Now for makeup, there really isn't a way around makeup. There is something called shabbos makeup that is being marketed, but most rabbis don't approve of it (although my rabbi approved it for his wife when they first got married), and it only works for the skin and smoothing it out. I'm naturally blonde and have blonde eyelashes and really only need mascara, but I learn to get past that. If you they other women in the shul observe all the mitzvot, they are makeup-less as well. You can get away with keeping some makeup on if you never wash your face the entire 3 days, but I personally would rather be clean than dirty with makeup (no matter how uncomfortable I feel without mascara).