Nail Polish and Nail Art, is it Tznius?

Nail polish has a very interesting history. It certainly is not a Jewish custom or tradition to paint one’s nails as we research the origins of this custom.According to this brightly illustrated history of nail polish from a gentile site called, we can learn that it is an ancient Egyptian custom to paint nails. Our ancestors who were in Mitrayim may know about this custom already.   Our imahos, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah probably never adorn their nails with polish.

Origins of Nail Polish



Nail Polish and Tznius

Colors speak volumes on a woman’s garment and that includes nails. Nail colors that are bright and attention-grabbing excluding non-flesh colors and clear colors are not tzanua (modest). Nail art, like any other art form, is there to attract attention, and falls in the category of not tzanua.

Halacha – nail polish
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh
Question: Is one allowed to wear dark nail polish?
Answer: There is no specific Halacha regarding nail polish and its colors. However, the basic premise of Tznius is to avoid anything which draws undue attention. Therefore, a color of nailpolish which draws attention to the wearer would not be allowed.

Nail Polish and Halachos

As far as nail polish applies in daily religious life, scratched nail polish on a nail may pose a problem in the ritual of Al Netilas Yadayim if it becomes chatzitzah. Consult your local Orthodox Rabbi to determine if a scratched nail polish is chatzitzah to you.

Chatzizah is a barrier between the body and the water that invalidates the ritual of pouring water over the fingers. For example, if one wears a ring on her finger, she has to remove it before she washes for Al Netilas Yadayim. If it has been determined for you by your local Orthodox Rabbi that scratched nail polish is a chatzitzah, then one has to remove this chatzitzah before washing one’s hands Al Netilas Yadayim.

One way to accomplish this is to dissolve the nail polish completely from the nail with a nail polish remover. One normally uses a cotton ball with the nail polish remover, however, on Shabbos, this is not allowed as a cotton ball that is wet with solvent may lead to the melacha of squeezing (s’chitah) on Shabbos. Consult your local Orthodox Rabbi for permitted ways of removing nail polish on Shabbos.


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