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Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane in Hand Luggage?

By Oscar Brumelis


Updated on

The rules for bringing makeup on planes are fairly simple. Liquid makeup is restricted to small quantities, while solid and powder makeup doesn’t have any restrictions.

But which makeup counts as solid, which powder, and which liquid? Because if you get it wrong, airport security might confiscate some of your makeup products. And makeup isn’t cheap. So it’s important to learn the rules for traveling with makeup

Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane in Hand Luggage?

You Only Need to Pack Liquid Makeup in Your Toiletry Bag

TSA and other airline regulators across the world limit liquids and aerosols in hand baggage. They must be in 3.4 oz (100 ml) bottles or smaller, and they must be packed inside a 1 quart/liter toiletry bag.

The main problem with this is that you can have only one small bag of liquid toiletries. And I often see a lot of people packing solid items in their toiletry bags. This is inefficient because you could be bringing more liquid/aerosol items in your small toiletry bag.

These makeup products are treated as liquids by airport security, so you need to pack them in your toiletry bag:

  • Mascara
  • Face Primer
  • Foundation
  • CC cream
  • Concealer (liquid)
  • Toner
  • Cleanser
  • Brightener
  • Face lotion/cream
  • Makeup remover
  • Setting spray
  • Eye primer
  • Eyeliner (liquid)
  • Lipgloss
  • Liquid lipstick
  • Other makeup items of aerosol, liquid, paste, gel, or cream consistency. If it moves by itself when turned upside down, it’s a liquid

Makeup Toiletry Bag Requirements

If you’re flying domestically within the US, your toiletry bag needs to be 1 quart in size or smaller. It has to be resealable and TSA recommends it to be transparent. Usually, reusable transparent toiletry bags are accepted. TSA also doesn’t care too much if it’s slightly over 1 quart in size.

When flying internationally, you should use a 20×20 cm (1 liter) Ziploc sandwich bag. That’s because usually, airport security overseas follows the rules more strictly compared to the US. Often, reusable toiletry bags aren’t allowed.

Solid Makeup Is Allowed Without Any Restrictions

A lot of makeup toiletry items don’t have any packing restrictions. So ideally, you should bring another toiletry bag where you pack these toiletry items. Not because there are any rules that require you to, but because you’ll be more organized that way. You won’t need to remove your second toiletry bag with solids when going through security.

These makeup products are counted as solid items by airport security:

  • Concealer (powder)
  • Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Bronzer
  • Setting powder
  • Face powders
  • Eyeshadow
  • Eyeliner pencil
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Lipstick
  • Lip balm
  • Brushes
  • Sponges
  • Lip liner pencils
  • Face wipes

Powders Are Also Good to Go, but Not in Large Quantities

For makeup items specifically, you shouldn’t be worried about powders because they usually come in very small quantities.

Only powders in containers over 350g (12 oz) are restricted in hand luggage (for example, protein powder, salt, flour, laundry detergent, etc). When flying within the US, they may be susceptible to individual inspections. When flying internationally, they may be completely banned from hand baggage. Small powder containers are okay in hand luggage but you should pack larger ones in checked baggage.

Other Important Rules for Toiletry Items

In hand baggage, most toiletry items are counted as solids, so they don’t have to be packed inside your toiletry bag. This includes hair wax, bar soap, shaving razors, tweezers, q-tips, toothbrushes, tooth floss, medicine (pills/capsules), stick deodorant, nail clippers, and nail files.

Liquid or aerosol toiletries have to go in your 1 quart/liter bag. These toiletries are counted as liquids or aerosols: hairspray, liquid or dry shampoo, conditioner, hair gel or paste, toothpaste, deodorant spray or roll-on stick, shaving gels, liquid medicine, hand/body cream/gel/moisturizer, sunscreen, contact solution, perfume, and essential oils.

Sharp items are also restricted in hand baggage, but only ones that are considered dangerous. Knives, scissors, and rat tail combs are banned from hand baggage. Nail files, nail clippers, bobby pins, and tweezers are good to go.

Plug-in electronics are allowed without any restrictions. This includes hair dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons, hair rollers, and similar electronics.

When packed in checked baggage, toiletry items are allowed in any quantity or size. Only flammable and hazardous toiletry items have additional restrictions. This includes aerosols, nail polish, perfume, nail polish remover (acetone), hand sanitizer, and other similar items. They must be in 500 g (18 oz) containers or smaller, and in total, each passenger can have 2 kg (68 oz) of these items.

Summing Up: Traveling With Makeup

If you learn which makeup items count as solids you can save some space in your toiletry bag and bring more makeup. For example, powders and lipstick don’t need to be packed in your toiletry bag. You should only pack liquids and aerosols in it.

In reality, you can pack about 5-8 3.4 oz (100 ml) containers in your toiletry bag, so choose wisely which items you’ll need. If you can’t fit everything, buy small toothpaste and shampoo at your destination and switch to a stick deodorant (which is considered a solid).

About Oscar Brumelis

Oscar is a freelance writer who loves traveling and hiking. He's been to over 30 different countries and hiked over 2000+ miles throughout his life.

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