Is it permissible for a woman to apply cosmetic material such as lipstick or eye shadow which color the face on Shabbat?
One of the 39 forbidden activities on Shabbat is coloring. Applying colorful cosmetics on Shabbat falls under this category. Therefore, it is forbidden to apply eyeshadow or lipstick. However, Hacham Ovadiah permits applying powder based cosmetic material as long as they don’t contain oil or cream and are not long lasting, although many poskim disagree with him.
In his book “Yechave Da’at” Maran Ovadiah includes a few reasons which combined, make it permissible to apply powder make up:
1) According to most opinions, applying cosmetics is Derabanan since it is not permanent and gets eliminated by sweat similar to perfume that gets eliminated by sweat.
2) Since the powder doesn’t get stuck to the face the prohibition doesn’t apply.
Please NOTE again that this is true only when the powder isnt oil or cream based.