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Washing Hair on chag

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Rabbi David Sperling

Sivan 8, 5771
Question
I have a problem which I suspect a lot of other women have too... My hair is very oilly, to the extreme i have the need to wash it everyday because it gets unconffortable as long as the day goes. Everyday I combat this problem with the use of the hair drier, and on shabatot i simply take good care of the so it won’t get so ruined on the saturday, but I can’t deny it’s a constant worry... Sometimes, i even use baby powder, which is mutar... However, as i live in galut I have very very hard times on the chagim because of yom tov sheni shel galuyot... I once heard that I could wash my hair with shampoo and let it dry without twisting and squeezing it because it is really very unconfortable for me, just like wearing dirty clothes or smelling bad, but I came to ask if that’s right. In theory, a shampoo is like the soap we use to wash hands, but for hair, and as long as i don’t twist and squeeze it, what could be the problem? What about applying hair cream to the hair, not the modeling kind, just the one that makes it hold still... Thank you, it’s a very important information for me because it seriously ruines my oneg with all of the worry and the feeling bad...!
Answer
Shalom, I'm sorry your question did not get to be answered before Yom Tov, but here is some information for next time. Washing hair, especially if it is very uncomfortable, as you write, is permitted on Yom Tov, and liquid shampoo may be used, as long as you make certain not to squeeze or wring the water out after washing it. You may use a towel to dry your hair, and even rub the towel gently over the hair to dry it - again being careful not to squeeze the hair through the towel. (Shmirat Shabbat KeHilchathah 14, footnote 1, and also paragraphs 16, 20 and 22). You must also be careful that the hot water you use is permitted on the festival, and does not turn on and off an electrical or gas heating unit. In connection with hair cream - Brilliantine or any other hair oil may be applied to the hair, but only in small quantities so that one should not come to squeeze it out of the hair. The use of hair cream, in any quantity, is forbidden. (Shmirat Shabbat KeHilchathah 14, 48). Blessings.
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