Hotels don’t always offer the highest quality shampoo and conditioner which is why a lot of travelers choose to bring their own toiletries when flying.
Also, when doing a lot of traveling, it’s not uncommon to get a little oily and sweaty. For some people this really shows up in their hair and on the scalp and can be uncomfortable and even make them self-conscious.
For these travelers, taking along dry shampoo is a great solution.
But are there problems with taking liquid and dry shampoo on a plane?
In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about taking shampoo through TSA airport security and on a plane.
I’ll cover the special FAA restrictions and give you some tips for how to comply with the liquids rule in the easiest and most convenient way.
Plus, I’ll provide you with some specific recommendations for products that you might want to utilize to make your journey as smooth as possible.
Table of Contents
Can you bring shampoo on a plane?
Yes, you can bring shampoo on a plane. If bringing shampoo as a carry-on you will need to make sure that your liquid or aerosol (dry shampoo) bottles are under 3.4 ounces.
If you are transporting shampoo in your checked luggage, liquid bottles can be full-size but aerosol bottles must comply with FAA restrictions.
Keep reading below to find out more about the rules and restrictions for bringing shampoo on a plane.
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How to bring shampoo on a plane
The method that you choose to bring shampoo on a plane will depend on the type of shampoo you are bringing. Below, I’ll give you insight and practical tips for bringing liquid and dry shampoo in both carry-on and checked baggage.
Most people bringing shampoo on the plane are bringing liquid or gel shampoo. Liquid shampoo will always be subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.
This rule states that your liquids must be contained within a container no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces or (100 mL) and that all of your liquid containers must fit comfortably within a quart sized re-sealable bag.
This means that you basically have three options.
TSA compliant shampoo bottles
First, you can buy TSA compliant bottles of shampoo which are basically just travel bottles of shampoo that come in containers smaller than 3.4 fluid ounces.
Some popular travel shampoos include:
- Pantene Shampoo Daily Moisture Renewal Hydrating
- Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner Bundle
- FRESHSCENT Shampoo 1oz
You are also free to take the miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner from hotels.
Hotel shampoo bottles should almost always be small enough to get through airport security as they often come in 1 ounce sizes.
Typically you can find a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and a bottle of lotion. There’s usually a bar of soap you could snag as well. All of these should be allowed in your carry-on so long as you properly place them in a quart-sized bag.
Pour your own shampoo into a small bottle
Your second option is to pour your own shampoo into plastic containers. You can find TSA compliant travel bottles which can be used for all different types of liquids.
However, if you want to put shampoo in your containers you may want to get some specifically designed to squeeze out liquids and lotions.
You may want to place a label on your bottles to help you remember which is shampoo and which is conditioner.
This could also help out TSA agents although they don’t seem to concern themselves about labels on containers for liquids.
Put it in checked baggage
Your third option is to put your shampoo in your checked baggage.
I’ve transported 33 ounce bottles of Tea Tree shampoo in my checked baggage dozens of times and never had any type of issue, so your shampoo and conditioner bottles can be quite large.
There is a special FAA restriction on toiletries but as I explained below I don’t think it applies to non-aerosol shampoo.
Just make sure that you lock the pump nozzle (if possible) and double bag your shampoo because shampoo containers are known to spill or pop open and even explode during flights.
Shampoo can be more dangerous than you think….
Dry shampoo is made to be applied at pretty much any moment. You don’t have to wash it out of your hair and it can still help remove oils, grease, and dirt from your hair.
It’s like being able to take half a shower on the go.
People use dry shampoo in instances where they put on sweat or are out and about for extended periods of time which is why they are so popular for people traveling.
It’s most effective for oily hair although you can find different types suitable for an array of different hair types.
How exactly does dry shampoo work?
It uses alcohols/starch-based active ingredients to soak up the oils and sweat from your hair. Less oil and less sweat means a fresher looking appearance.
A lot of the dry shampoos will also come with a fragrance which can add to the freshness.
Some popular dry shampoos recommended by Healthline include:
- Batiste Hint of Color Dry Shampoo
- Klorane Dry Shampoo Powder with Oat Milk
- Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo
- R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
TSA does allow dry shampoo but there are some restrictions.
If you are bringing dry shampoo with you then your container may be subject to the restrictions on aerosol cans.
For your carry-on, this means that your containers need to be smaller than 3.4 ounces.
In addition, the nozzle on your dry shampoo must be protected by caps or some other suitable lid that prevents accidental release.
For checked baggage, the FAA sets special limits for the total amount of toiletry items which includes aerosols.
Based on language from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when searching “shampoo,” it seems that this special limitation may only apply to shampoo in aerosol form and not liquid shampoo.
This special limitation means that the total amount of your toiletries cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces)
Also, the capacity of each container cannot be larger than 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).
You should avoid applying dry shampoo in the cabin of the plane.
The biggest reason is that other passengers may be sensitive to the fragrance or even the chemicals and you are putting them at risk by spraying it on.
The same risk could apply in a lavatory although I have flown in business class and first class cabins that did not have an issue with allowing passengers to use aerosols in them.
In fact, they even had hairspray in the bathrooms being offered to passengers.
Your best advice would be to talk with the crew and see what they are okay with.
Tip: There are some dry shampoos that are non-aerosol so you can get around the aerosol restrictions and just be dealing with the liquids rule.
Dry shampoo can also take a powder form.
Here are a few dry shampoos:
In this case you can still bring your dry shampoo on the plane and through security. However, the item will be subject to the TSA rules for bringing powdery substances.
When bringing it as a carry-on, if the amount is greater than 12 ounces you need to place it in a separate bin for X-ray screening. For your reference that is about the size of a regular soda can.
Sometimes powdery substances are subject to additional screening. (Agents want to make sure you are not smuggling in drugs or explosives in powder form.)
If you are referred for additional screening, an agent may want to closely inspect your powder shampoo and might even want to test the substance with a chemistry kit.
This can slow down your progress through security by a few minutes so be ready for potential delays.
To avoid any setbacks at security, you could always put your powder shampoo in your checked baggage.
The concern in checked baggage is that an agent they want to test your powder or even puncture the packaging if it comes in a bag.
This can sometimes result in a mess in your checked baggage so you may want to try to double bag and perhaps even leave a note to request the agent to seal up the container with your other bag after testing.
Important Read: 11 TSA Carry-On Rules That Matter The Most
If you have been prescribed a medical shampoo the liquids rule does not apply to that item in the same way. This means that you can bring a container larger than 3.4 ounces.
While TSA does not require prescriptions to be checked, it’s still a good idea to have your prescription on you or attached to the bottle in case you run into resistance.
There still will be a restriction to only transport “reasonable quantities,” which is definitely a subjective definition so there is going to be room for agent discretion.
Also, TSA requests that at the security checkpoint you declare to the agent that you have an oversized bottle of liquid medication.
If you have one small bottle of medicated shampoo and you show your prescription to a TSA agent, they should allow you to bring it through.
I’ve personally brought medicated shampoo (Ketoconazole) through airport security on many occasions and never had an issue although I also have TSA Pre-Check which probably helps.
Also, every time I’ve brought medicated shampoo on a plane it has been prescribed by an MD.
There are a lot of shampoos that are “medicated” but do not require a prescription and TSA may not be so lenient with those.
If you are worried about getting your bottle of shampoo confiscated then just pour a little bit into a 3.4 ounce container so that you don’t risk it all getting taken.
As far as I can tell, there are no special exceptions for other types of shampoo like baby shampoo.
Helpful Read: TSA Medication Rules for Flying on Planes
Conditioner (2-in-1 products)
All of the same rules should apply to conditioner and liquid soap (body wash) as well.
Some people try to reduce the amount of liquids that they bring and you may consider purchasing and all in one shampoo and conditioner to reduce your containers when traveling.
However, a lot of people don’t feel like two in one shampoo and conditioner products do a good job and so you might just be better off with shampoo if you can’t carry both.
Related: Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane?
TSA states: “TSA has determined that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard aircraft.”
If you can pack your shampoo in 3.4 ounce containers and put them into 1 quart-sized bag you should have no issue transporting them as a carry-on. However, if you are trying to bring a full-sized container of shampoo that will have to go in your checked bag.
You can bring liquid or aerosol shampoo in containers 3.4 ounces or smaller when transporting them in a carry-on. Full-size shampoo bottles are allowed in checked baggage but if your dry shampoo is in aerosol form it will be subject to FAA restrictions which limit you to containers no larger than 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).
You can bring shampoo on a plane in your carry-on or checked baggage.
When bringing liquid or aerosol shampoo through as a carry-on the containers need to be smaller than 3.4 ounces. The only exception is when you have medicated shampoo but even then you may want to pour it into a smaller container to be safe.
You can bring large quantities of liquid shampoo in your checked baggage but if you’re bringing dry shampoo in aerosol form then you will be subject to special FAA restrictions on size.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.