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TIL: Use :has to target parent elements in CSS selectors

When I was first introduced to CSS in university, I was told that selectors only go from left to right. No matter how complex a selector is, the declaration will always apply to the last element in the chain.

Well, with the :has pseudo class achieving pretty decent browser support that’s no longer true. It’s probably pretty bad for performance, but for those one off cases it’s useful to have in the toolkit.

The :has pseudo class works by selecting elements that also match the selector arguments passed to :has. For example:

section:has(> h1) {
  color: red;

This rule will make the text color red for every <section> that has an <h1> element as a direct descendant. Notice that the declaration is applied to the section element, not the h1 element (as would’ve happened with section > h1). You can read more about :has on MDN.

As of May 2023, :has is supported by Chrome (105+, since August 2022), Edge(105+, since September 2022) and Safari (15.4, since March 2022) but Firefox still has it behind a feature flag. Mobile support is pretty decent as well (but it requires much more browsers from 2023 or newer). Full table on Can I use.

Use case: add overlay behind Osano GDPR banner

My use case has been to add an overlay behind a GDPR banner. The banner is added to the DOM at runtime and I didn’t want to use JS for this because it would’ve meant continously listening for DOM mutations to detect when the banner was shown or removed. My solution in plain CSS:

.osano-cm-window:has(> .osano-cm-dialog)::before {
  content: "";
  position: fixed;
  inset: 0;
  background-color: rgb(0 0 0 / 40%);

.osano-cm-window:has(> .osano-cm-dialog--hidden)::before {
  content: none;

.osano-cm-window is the root element that Osano adds to the DOM. Everything that their script adds, lives inside of this element. .osano-cm-dialog is the element that contains the banner and .osano-cm-dialog--hidden is added to the banner when it’s closed.

My biggest worry with this was the overlay breaking the page if :has wasn’t supported by the browser, but by using :has in both declarations it gracefully degrades and the overlay isn’t added to the DOM at all if :has is not available.