Can you take makeup on a plane? With all the different rules about what you can and can’t bring on a plane in your carry on, it’s no wonder we get confused about certain items.
As a carry on traveler, you might be wondering about TSA makeup rules and how they deal with makeup in carry on bags. It’s not as straight forward as you might like since the rules differ based on the type of makeup.
The quick answer is yes, but you have to determine which makeup is liquid because there will be more rules around those items. Keep reading to learn more about bringing makeup on a plane.
Note: This post is written referencing TSA rules for travel from airports in the USA. Some countries may have different rules, so if you’re flying from an airport in another country, please look up the rules for the authority in that country.
Can you take makeup on a plane?
If you regularly travel with makeup in your carry on bag, this is an important question to answer. First, it’s best to look through your cosmetics and determine which items are liquid and which are not.
Any liquid toiletries or makeup will have to abide by the TSA liquid rule. This means that each makeup container must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller, and all containers must fit inside a one quart (one liter) clear zip top bag.
The solid makeup is easy. Standard lipstick is allowed. Eyeliner pencils are permitted. You can bring makeup brushes on a plane. Powdered makeup is allowed but can get a little more complicated. Read on to see why.
Can you bring powder makeup on a plane?
The quick answer is yes, you can take powder makeup in hand luggage. This includes bringing eye shadow palettes and other types of powdered make up on a plane.
But even with your non-liquid makeup, there are things to consider with the new TSA powder rule. The TSA powder rule means that any powder-like substances over 12 ounces (350ml) could be subject to further screening.
Powders are still allowed, and according to TSA, you don’t even need to take them out of your bag for separate screening unless they are over 12 ounces (350ml).
That said, on a recent flight I had salt and pepper shakers in my carry on, which were clearly smaller than 12 ounces, and TSA removed them to do further screening.
Afterwards they did allow me to keep them, but apparently this extra screening was because they were considered powders.
So be aware that TSA could decide to pull your carry on bag aside for more screening procedures if you’re traveling with powders, including powder makeup that is clearly smaller than 12 ounces.
But as long as you’re not actually trying to sneak in something illegal, you shouldn’t have any issues other than a few extra minutes spent at the security checkpoint.
TSA powder rule
I have seen many airline websites that state that powders above 12 ounces (350ml) are not permitted in carry on bags, only in checked baggage. This is actually stricter than what TSA says.
Here’s what the TSA website says about bringing powders and powdered substances in your carry on baggage:
“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.”
So if you do have powders that are above that limit, and your airline’s website says they are not permitted, you’ll have to make the decision on who you want to listen to.
I personally would go by the TSA powder rule, since they’re the ones screening the luggage. But I can’t make you any guarantees.
In any case, your powdered makeup is unlikely to be above the 12 ounce (350ml) limit.
Can you take makeup in hand luggage if it’s liquid?
Again, liquid makeup is allowed in carry on luggage as long as each container is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller and is stored in your 1 quart (1 liter) clear zip top liquids bag. Remember this is the limit for taking liquid toiletries on a plane.
If you’re traveling with liquid foundation, liquid lipstick, nail polish, or any other liquid makeup, make sure your containers are small enough and pack them in your liquid toiletry bag.
Whenever possible, it’s best to bring solid makeup in carry on bags to limit the number of liquids you have to deal with when traveling.
But the liquid allowance on a plane can get tricky sometimes when you don’t realize certain items count as liquid.
Is mascara a liquid according to TSA?
Mascara is an important tool in many makeup bags, so you probably want to travel with it. So you might be wondering, does mascara count as a liquid?
Mascara does count as a liquid when flying. BUT if you’re asking yourself, can I take mascara on a plane, the answer is yes!
Mascara is permitted in both carry on or checked luggage. But people often don’t think about the fact that mascara is considered a liquid by TSA, so be sure to pack it in your zip top bag to avoid hassles at security.
Is lipstick a liquid according to TSA?
Lipstick comes in different types, so some are considered liquids while others are not.
The standard traditional lipstick is a solid. This does not need to be packed in your liquids bag.
But lipstick that you apply with a little wand is liquid. This is vaguely similar to mascara, and you’ll need to pack this type of lipstick in your liquids bag.
Can you take foundation on a plane?
Yes, you can bring foundation on a plane. Where you pack it depends on the type of foundation you use.
Many foundations are liquid, which means they need to comply with liquids rules. Verify that your bottle is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller, and pack it in your liquids bag.
Do you use stick foundation? The kind that basically looks like lipstick? This is a solid and can be packed in your normal makeup bag.
Can you take a hair straightener on an airplane?
Can you bring a curling iron on a plane?
Can you bring a hair dryer on a plane?
How much makeup can I bring on a plane?
The only restrictions you have to worry about when it comes to how much makeup you can bring on a plane are the powder and liquids limits. You can pack as much solid makeup as you want in both carry on bags and checked luggage.
When it comes to liquid cosmetics, you are limited to containers that are 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller and as many containers as will fit into your liquids bag.
As for powders, TSA has that strange powders rule that says that powders greater than 12 oz. / 350 ml in your carry on bag must be screened separately. Since that’s a large amount, it is unlikely to affect you bringing powdered makeup.
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Can you bring perfume on a plane?
Since perfume is a liquid, the answer to the question, “can I bring perfume on a plane?” is yes, to a point.
Like other liquids, your perfume bottle must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller. Don’t bring a bigger bottle of perfume in your carry on or it will be confiscated!
Try to find smaller travel sized perfumes. Better yet, look for a solid perfume stick to travel with. Check out all the different options on Amazon.
When traveling with perfume on a plane, also be aware that perfume can be an irritant for some people. Being stuck on a plane for hours next to someone wearing perfume can be stifling for someone with a sensitivity or allergy.
Please be considerate and go easy on the amount of perfume you wear, or better yet, skip it altogether until you get to your destination.
Can you bring makeup wipes on a plane?
Luckily TSA does allow you to take makeup wipes on a plane in your carry on bag. This also includes makeup wipes, baby wipes, wet wipes, and disinfection wipes.
They are not considered liquids, despite being wet (yay!) so you don’t have to put them in your liquids bag. Save that precious space for other things.
Can you bring nail polish on a plane?
Since nail polish is a liquid, the answer to the question, can you take nail polish on a plane, is yes. As long as it’s less than 3.4 ounces and fits in your liquids bag, you can bring your nail polish.
Most bottles of nail polish are much smaller than this limit, so that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re also traveling with nail polish remover, that bottle must also fall within the TSA cosmetics rules concerning liquids.
But please don’t paint your nails while on board the plane. Nail polish has a rather strong smell, and like with the perfume, this could easily irritate the people around you.
Plus, can you imagine hitting turbulence while painting your nails? Not a pretty sight.
Can you bring a nail file on a plane?
You never know when you might chip a nail, so a nail file is something most of us want to pack when we travel. Luckily, nail files are allowed in carry-on luggage, even the metal ones, according to TSA.
However, since the decision rests with the agent you get that day, I’d skip the metal nail file just in case some overzealous officer decides it’s too sharp.
Can you bring nail clippers on a plane?
Nail clippers are another item that’s probably in your makeup bag. They do technically cut, so there might be some concern about whether they are allowed in your carry on bag.
Rest assured, you can take nail clippers on a plane in carry on luggage. I mean, it would be pretty tough to use them as a weapon, right?
Nail scissors are a different issue though. TSA says nail scissors in carry on must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.
But be aware that different countries might be more strict about traveling with scissors. I have had my little nail scissors confiscated in another country, so now I don’t travel with them anymore.
Also, be aware that the length allowed for scissors in carry on varies from one country to another. Some countries only allow scissors that are less than 6cm from the pivot point, which is only a little over 2 inches.
Can you bring tweezers on a plane?
If you regularly use tweezers as part of your beauty routine, you might be wondering, can you take tweezers on a plane?
Presumably since they aren’t really sharp and would be rather difficult to use as a weapon, TSA says you can bring tweezers on a plane in carry on.
If you decide to pack anything sharp, like nail scissors, regular scissors, or even tweezers, in your checked luggage, make sure they are sheathed so they can’t accidentally poke through your luggage and injure a baggage handler.
Hopefully this answers all your questions about whether you can bring makeup on a plane and which cosmetics are considered liquids!
Read more about packing:
- What NOT to Pack in Your Carry On Bag
- Carry On Toiletries: Non-Liquid Options for Carry On Travel
- Best Travel Packing Cubes
- Carry On Luggage Size Chart with 170+ Airlines Worldwide
- Best Carry-On Luggage