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Just because you are flying, that does not mean that you have to give up your makeup game. But there are some rules and regulations that you need to abide by when bringing your makeup on a plane and through airport security. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about bringing makeup on a plane.
Can you bring makeup on a plane?
Yes, you are allowed to bring makeup on a plane but you need to abide by some TSA regulations such as the liquids 3-1-1 rule and powder restrictions.
I’ll cover these regulations in detail below.
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Solid or powder form makeup
If your makeup is in solid or powder form, the good news is there are no quantity or size limitations. As long as the makeup can fit in your carry-on or checked luggage, you can bring it with you.
This means that for your makeup items like solid eyeliner, lipliner, blush, lip balms, and lipstick, you will be perfectly fine to bring it through airport security.
There is one warning you should know about when it comes to taking powders through airport security.
A lot of times TSA security agents will want to take a close look at your powders when bringing them through the screening process.
This is especially true if you have a large container of powder such as a protein powder container.
Generally, if you are bringing in a powder like substance that is over 12 ounces you can expect for your powder to undergo additional screening.
Here’s what the TSA states:
Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened. For your convenience, we encourage you to place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags.
Sometimes even if your container is under 12 ounces, your powder items will still be subjected to a closer look. (And that is understandable because illegal drugs and other explosive substances could appear very similar to makeup powders.)
What is additional screening like?
It’s possible that they will pull your powder container aside and inspect it or even take a small sample of it. This process usually does not take very long and an agent can typically rule out any suspicious substances pretty quickly.
So just be prepared to take a moment to verify that your powder substances are legit and not a threat to the safety of other passengers.
It’s possible that you might be flying on an airline that also has restrictions on powder quantities for carry-ons. For that reason, I think the best advice is to avoid bringing makeup quantities over 12 ounces through TSA if possible.
If you have questions about the airline that you are flying you can always check their terms and conditions or simply call up and speak to an agent about bringing powders on board.
If your makeup comes in liquid form then it is a very different story.
Liquid for TSA purposes can mean a lot of different things.
Not only does it include obvious liquids but it also includes lotions, gels, pastes, creamy substances, etc.
This means that some of your makeup items like primer, nail polish, liquid foundation, BB cream, liquid mascara, lip gels, eyebrow gel, and others will be subject to the liquids rule.
If your makeup is not in solid or powder form, then you will be subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.
This rule means that you can only bring in liquids that fit in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. In addition, you can only bring along the number of 3.4 ounce containers that can fit into a quart sized zip-top bag.
Keep in mind that the containers must fit comfortably inside this bag. That basically means that the bag is not bursting at the seams.
If you do try to cram too much makeup into your bag then you will likely have to throw some of it out so you don’t want to have to waste your precious makeup by trying to overstuff the bag.
You will be asked to remove your liquids bag from your carry-on bag as you proceed through screening. However, if you have TSA Pre-Check then you can keep your liquids bag inside your carry-on bag which is pretty convenient.
TSA Pre-Check comes with a number of other benefits that help expedite the security screening process including:
- Shoes can stay on
- Belt can stay on
- Light jackets can stay on
- Laptops allowed to stay in bag
In addition to those, you can often avoid the full body scanner and you get access to an expedited screening line so if you like to save time and preserve some of your privacy, I would recommend to check it out.
If you want to carry your liquid makeup materials with you in your checked baggage, there are no limitations on the quantity or size of liquids in checked bags.
Other commonly asked about items
Perfume is a liquid and therefore is subject to the same liquids rule. Your bottle must not be larger than 3.4 ounces.
And just remember the liquids rule considers the size of your liquid container not the liquid inside.
This trips a lot of people up.
What it means is that if you had a perfume bottle that was 5 ounces in size but only contained 2 ounces of perfume inside, that bottle would still not be allowed.
You are allowed to bring nail clippers for both your fingers and toes so there is nothing to worry about.
However, if you have other items that qualify as a sharp item such as scissors they must be under 4 inches from the pivot point.
Here’s a list of sharp items that are allowed or not allowed:
- Box Cutters = No
- Cigar Cutters = Yes but not recommended
- Corkscrews (with blade) = No
- Crochet Hooks = Yes
- Darts = No
- Disposable Razor = Yes
- Ice Axes/Ice Picks = No
- Kirpans = No
- Knitting Needles = Yes
- Lock Picks = Yes
- Meat Cleavers = No
- Nail Clippers = Yes
- Pencil Sharpeners = Yes
- Razor-Type Blades = No
- Sabers = No
- Safety pin = Yes
- Safety Razor With Blades (allowed without blade) = No
- Saws = No
- Sewing Needles = Yes
- Swiss Army Knife = No
- Swords = No
- Throwing Stars = No
- Tweezers = Yes
You can read more about bringing sharp items here.
A lot of people also have questions about bringing deodorant. The rule is very similar to makeup in that it depends on the type of deodorant you are bringing.
There are solid, powder, and liquid forms of deodorant so again the rule applies very similar to makeup. To find out more about restrictions on bringing deodorant on a plane, click here.
If you need to keep your legs or other body parts nice and smooth on your trip, you’ll be relieved to know that you can bring razors on a plane.
But only certain types of razors are allowed and you actually could get in pretty big trouble if you bring the wrong type so make sure you read up on the rules.
Toothpaste is another commonly brought item through airport security.
Generally, if you are going with the small size you have nothing to worry about. But there are some ways to get around the liquids rule with different types of toothpaste so you can read up on those here.
Believe it or not, you actually can bring in all sorts of different types of foods through airport security and onto a plane. Some of these might really surprise you like bringing live lobsters through screening. Read here for the complete details on bringing food on a plane.
TSA is very lenient when it comes to taking medication on a plane. They have special exemptions for liquid medication and don’t even require you to necessarily show your prescription (although you need to abide by state laws). Read here on the rules for bringing medication on a plane.
TSA makeup rules FAQ
Nail polish is allowed but it is subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.
Mascara is allowed but if it is in liquid form, it is subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.
Yes, you are allowed to bring in powdered makeup on a plane. However, your powdered makeup might be subject to additional screening, especially if it is more than 12 ounces.
If your lipstick is in solid form then you can bring it along in unlimited amounts. Other forms of makeup such as lip gloss will likely be considered a liquid and subject to the liquids rule.
Anything in liquid form or in a non-solid-state such as sprays, creams, pastes, and gels, will be considered a liquid. This could include primer, nail polish, liquid foundation, BB cream, liquid mascara, lip gels, eyebrow gel, and others.
Yes, there is no restriction on makeup brushes. If the brushes contain noticeable substances on them they may be subject to additional screening, however.
The TSA rules for bringing makeup on a plane are pretty straightforward. You can bring solid makeup on a plane no problem and powdered makeup is allowed as well but might be subject to additional screening. If your makeup is in liquid form or in a state similar to a liquid such as a cream then it will be subject to the liquids 3-1-1 rule.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.