Secular women may laugh at the concept of kosher cosmetics, saying that they can understand the importance of kashrut in relation to what one feeds one’s face but not with regard to what one puts on one’s face.
After all, Orthodox Jewish women wear fur, leather and suede garments made from the skins of non-kosher animals, so why balk at creams, lotions and makeup? Whatever the reason, Gaya Cosmetics, a Milan-headquartered cosmetics company owned by an Israeli, with outlets in Israel, Finland and England, has a certificate from the Chief Rabbinate approving its products as kosher and suitable – with one or two exceptions – for use on Shabbat.
At a recent demonstration for journalists, Ma’ayan Weinberger, the head of Gaya’s training division, was refreshingly honest when she said that no antiaging product in the world can prevent or remove wrinkles, but good antiaging products can firm up the skin and give it a youthful glow. To prove her point about the glow, she applied an anti-aging collagen mask to a volunteer in the audience whose skin was still unlined. She didn’t really need the extra glow, but it did make a difference to her appearance.
Weinberger also demonstrated the proper way to apply eye cream. It should be applied only to the contours of the bone framing the eye, she cautioned.
Gaya’s chief makeup artist Keren Shaham used the short-stemmed kabuki brush to apply powdered foundation and blush pigmentation in gentle dabs and circular motions. One of the tricks for avoiding an overdose of blush is to blend it with the foundation before applying it. Shaham poured some of the foundation into the cap of the jar, then added a little blush, blended the two with her kabuki brush and applied it along the cheekbones. There was a slight, almost natural, emphasis of color on the cheeks, but the volunteer did not look like a clown.
Many women are frustrated by eyeliner because the pencil variety wears off quickly, and the liquid variety has a tendency to either cake or leak. Gaya’s solution is eyeliner gel, applied from the outside in. Just the tiniest amount is required on a very fine makeup brush.
Founded by Shahar Gamliel, an Israeli with some 13 years’ experience in the cosmetics industry, Gaya cosmetics has shops and booths in shopping malls around the country.
The prices of the products are more or less on par with those of major global cosmetics companies. A nine-gram jar of mineral makeup foundation sells for NIS 165 and mineral makeup NIS 174. Blush in the same volume retails for NIS 114, and a tiny 3.5 gram pot of gel eyeliner costs NIS 109.
Gaya operates a membership club that entitles members to a 20 percent discount on purchases.