Solid Toiletries for Travel: Non-Liquid Options to Pack in Carry-On (2023)
When traveling carry-on only, liquids can be a big frustration. Those pesky carry on liquid restrictions mean you have to find smaller versions of all your toiletries, and you might have to leave a few things behind. But what if you could find some great non-liquid carry on toiletries to make traveling carry-on only a little easier?
Keep reading to learn more about solid toiletries for travel, including the best solid shampoo and conditioner for travel, solid toothpaste for travel, and so many other great solid beauty products for travel. These will change your life, I swear.
What toiletries can you take on a plane?
If you find yourself asking, what toiletries can I take on a plane, rest assured that you can take just about any toiletries you want in your carry on bag. But there are limits for liquid toiletries, which is why I wrote this post about solid beauty products for travel.
Carry on toiletries size
The carry on liquid rule allows containers that are up to 3.4 ounces (100 ml) and all containers must fit in a clear zip top bag no larger than one quart (one liter). Anything bigger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) is not allowed, even if it’s not full.
But you know what kind of toiletries you can take on a plane without having to worry about how many ounces are allowed on a plane? Solid toiletries!
There are many options for carry on friendly solid travel toiletries. They are non-liquid and won’t count against your airplane liquids limit, allowing you to take more toiletries on flights.
Do my carry on toiletries have to be travel sized for domestic flights?
Unfortunately yes, your carry on toiletries do have to be travel sized for domestic flights and for international flights. This means a 1 quart (1 liter) clear zip top bag, one per person, and each container in that bag must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller.
Security screeners don’t care where your destination is. Always follow the rules regarding liquids in your cabin baggage.
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My favorite solid toiletries for travel
In case you’re short on time, here are what I consider the best solid toiletries for travel. They’ll save you space in your quart sized liquids bag, and they work just as well – or sometimes better! – than their liquid counterparts.
- Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar: Wonderful solid shampoo that comes in lots of different variations for different hair types. I use this and the conditioner bar (next) at home as well as when I travel because I love them so much.
- Solid Conditioner Bar: I love this conditioner bar more than any liquid conditioner I’ve ever used.
- Hello toothpaste tabs: These are solid toothpaste tabs that come in an environmentally friendly tin and are made with natural peppermint.
- Neutrogena solid sunscreen: A great alternative to liquid sunscreen, and I’ve been using it for years.
- Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm Stick: This solid bug repellent is a life saver, so much better than the horrible smell of the spray variety.
- Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets: A friend bought me these non-liquid laundry detergent sheets years ago, and I’ve been traveling with them ever since.
Keep reading for more details on my favorite carry on friendly solid travel toiletries, plus some frequently asked questions about traveling with toiletries.
Non-liquid / Bar soap for carry-on travel
This should be an easy one. Lots of us use liquid shower gel on a daily basis, but when you’re traveling, packing a solid bar of soap is an easy switch.
It might not be your favorite way of showering, but it will still get you clean and it won’t take up space in your liquids bag.
Does bar soap count as a liquid when flying?
A big advantage of traveling with bar soap is that a bar of soap does not count as liquid when flying.
I do recommend putting your bar of soap in a secure travel soap dish so it doesn’t leak, and you should probably pack it in a toiletry bag or Ziploc bag just in case. You don’t want your clothes getting wet and soapy while in transit.
Does bar soap need to be in a quart bag?
Since it’s solid, not liquid, bar soap does not need to be packed in one quart liquids bag. Pack it somewhere else in your luggage so you won’t lose any precious space in that tiny bag.
>>Can you take hair straighteners in hand luggage? Click the link to find out, plus info about taking curling irons and hair dryers in carry on.
Solid shampoo and conditioner for travel
Solid shampoo might be the best thing to happen for travelers. I understand not wanting to give up your normal shampoo, especially for the ladies, but this is something to consider if you have a lot of other liquids you just can’t give up.
It’ll certainly help you fly carry-on only. I made the switch a few years ago, and now I use solid shampoo for travel AND when I’m at home!
I personally use Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar and Solid Conditioner Bar and I love them. The conditioner bar took two or three uses before it really started working well for me, but now I love it, so be patient with it.
Those links go to their versions for oily hair, but there are several different types of shampoo bars and conditioner bars for different types of hair.
If you happen to live in Germany, I’ve also tried the Jolu Shampoo Bar, and I love this one too. Unfortunately I’ve only been able to find it on the Amazon Germany site.
Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars and Jolu shampoo bar have become my favorite carry on toiletries, and they’re ones I now use daily at home or on the road.
Lush shampoo bars are also good, but the ones for my hair type have chunks in them, like seaweed or lemon bits, and that annoyed me after awhile. Apparently not all varieties are like this though.
Their conditioner bar isn’t great either. Even as someone who doesn’t need much conditioner, I never felt like I was getting enough out of theirs.
That said, Lush makes good stuff and is one to consider when testing out solid toiletries, plus many of their products come without plastic packaging.
Here are a few other solid shampoos and conditioners to try:
- J.R. Liggett bar shampoo
- Real Beer & Honey Shampoo Bar from Tasmania Australia
- Honey Silk conditioner bar
No matter which ones you choose, make sure you test them out ahead of time so you know how they work with your hair.
Do shampoo bars count as liquid?
Nope! Shampoo bars do not count as liquid because they are solid, essentially a fancy bar of soap.
Is conditioner considered a liquid?
Typical conditioner does count as a liquid, and it will need to comply with TSA liquids rules. But give solid conditioner a try, because it’s a wonderful non-liquid alternative for travel.
And really, I love my solid conditioner bar more than any liquid conditioner I’ve ever used.
Does shampoo count as a liquid on a plane?
Standard shampoo comes in liquid form. It’s basically a gel, so it does count as a liquid on a plane.
This is why solid shampoo (and conditioner) is so great. Solid shampoo is in the form of a bar of soap – so it’s NOT liquid – but it’s formulated for your hair.
Non-liquid perfume for carry-on travel
Ladies, I know you like to smell nice whether you’re home or on the road. But packing your favorite perfume might not be practical.
Those bottles spill too easily, and if it’s a big bottle, it might be over the 100ml/3.4 ounce limit.
I used to work with the female travel site Her Packing List, and I got to try out their solid perfume sticks, called Aroamas. They’re small, roughly the size of a lipstick but thinner.
They won’t leak or spill because they’re solid, made from a base of coconut oil and beeswax so the texture is similar to lip balm. They come in a wide variety of scents to fit your preferences.
Update: Unfortunately the Aroamas are currently only able to ship to Australia and New Zealand. Check out these solid perfume suggestions instead if you live elsewhere. They’ll make a great addition to your hand luggage toiletries.
>>Read more about taking makeup on a plane.
Solid toothpaste for travel
Solid toothpaste? What? Yes, you read that right. These amazing solid travel toiletries will save you more space in that liquids bag.
Basically, you put the tab in your mouth and chew it, which will start to make a foam. Then brush as normal with your wet toothbrush, and spit and rinse when you’re done.
Here are a few different brands of solid toothpaste for travel you should try:
- Superbee: These are environmentally friendly and come in a tin.
- Hello: These come in an environmentally friendly tin and are made with natural peppermint.
- Archtek: Another popular option, these say they come in a recyclable plastic bottle.
- Lush: This brand makes solid toothpaste and solid mouthwash tabs, also in recyclable plastic bottles.
While they take a little getting used to, I love having one more non-liquid alternative when packing up my carry on toiletries.
If you use solid roll-on deodorant, you’re already using a non-liquid option that doesn’t need to go in your liquids bag.
But some of you might use a liquid roll-on deodorant or an aerosol deodorant. Those types will have to comply with the liquid toiletries limit, and since they’re typically pretty big containers, even if they’re 3.4 ounces or less, they really eat into your bag’s capacity.
I highly recommend switching to a solid deodorant for travel, especially if you want to take deodorant on a plane in your carry on bag.
Ethique, the brand I love for solid shampoo and conditioner also makes an aluminum-free solid deodorant. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will be adding it to my next order for sure.
Another great option for aluminum-free solid deodorant is Freedom, and they have regular sizes and travel sizes. They also sell sprays, so make sure you’re looking at the solids.
Did you know sunscreen comes in solid form too? This is perfect for those beach vacations, or really any trip where you’ll be spending a lot of time outside.
I tried this solid sunscreen on a recent trip and thought it was a great option for reducing carry on liquids.
Does stick sunscreen count as a liquid?
I get it, TSA has us questioning almost everything these days: Is it liquid, is it not liquid? It’s frustrating.
But stick sunscreen does not count as a liquid. It’s a fantastic solid toiletry alternative to its more well known liquid version.
Non-liquid bug repellent
Seriously, who knew? Instead of bug spray that gets all over your clothes, try out this solid bug repellent stick. This might be better than normal bug spray regardless of the carry-on benefits.
On a recent trip to Central America and again on our US Southwest road trip, I tried a different brand that is unfortunately out of stock. But it was great, and as long as I remembered to actually use it (I forgot a few times…oops!) it worked well to keep the mosquitoes away.
This is definitely one to add to your airplane toiletries packing list.
>>Read: Can you take aerosols on a plane?
Laundry detergent strips
This might not apply to all of you, but if you’re traveling long enough to need to do laundry, consider picking up some non-liquid laundry detergent strips.
I don’t recommend them for an entire load of laundry (I once tried using 4 or 5 in one load and my clothes didn’t quite feel clean) but they work great for washing a few pairs of underwear in the sink when you’re in a pinch.
Can I bring laundry detergent on a plane?
You can take standard laundry detergent on a plane in liquid form if its container is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller and it fits in your liquids bag.
Otherwise, you can bring some laundry detergent sheets as mentioned above. Since these are solid, not liquid, you won’t have to worry about a limit.
Can you hide liquids in your carry on?
After reading this post about solid toiletries for travel, I hope you don’t even need to ask this question. But no, you can’t hide liquids in your carry on bag.
Airport security has x-ray machines, not only to check for obviously dangerous items, but also to check for pesky liquids. They might occasionally miss a small bottle of something liquid, but for the most part, they’ll find it.
It’s really not worth trying to hide liquids in your bag. If TSA finds something in your bag that’s liquid and over the limit, they will confiscate it.
Try the non-liquid toiletries I’ve mentioned above, and you will most likely to be able to replace at least a few of your liquid items. This will reduce the amount you need to fit in your liquids bag.
The possibilities for solid travel toiletries are endless. Do a quick search for “solid” or “non-liquid” plus the product you’re interested in, and chances are there’s a solid option for you. Non-liquid carry-on toiletries are a great way to reduce the stress of the TSA liquid restrictions and reduce the chances of things spilling in your luggage.
Read more great posts about packing:
- How to Pack Light With Liquids
- How to Pick the Best Carry-On Luggage
- Carry-On Size Chart by Airline
- And check out the full packing section here
February 25, 2023 @ 4:24 pm
can bring spray bug spray thats under 3.4 oz that you spray on skin?
March 1, 2023 @ 11:59 am
Hi Jo Anne! Yes, as long as the bottle fits in your liquids bag, it can go in your carry on bag. You can also pack it in checked luggage, but make sure it’s in a toiletry bag or a ziploc or something just in case it leaks, you don’t want that all over your clothes. You can read more about flying with aerosols here.
October 24, 2019 @ 3:18 am
Hi. I have a face mask that will still be sealed from manufacturer. Is that ok to bring in my carry on?
October 24, 2019 @ 2:34 pm
Hi Carolyn! If it’s liquid, gel, cream, or aerosol, it must comply with the liquids rule in order to go in your carry on bag. This means the container must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or smaller, and all containers must go in your one quart liquids bag. It doesn’t matter if the container is sealed from the manufacturer, if it’s over 3.4 ounces, it will get confiscated at security. If you’re flying with checked luggage, it can go there, or you can get refillable toiletry containers that are 3.4 ounces or smaller and put it in there.
October 14, 2019 @ 9:12 pm
Does solid deodorant have to go in toiletie bag
October 15, 2019 @ 11:18 am
If your deodorant is solid, not aerosol or gel, you can pack it wherever you want.
September 10, 2019 @ 11:53 pm
I travel a fair amount and read a great deal about travel. Your site has been the most useful of all the sites I have seen in ages. Everyone has the typical travel advice but yours hits areas that others don’t, especially the solid carry on products for frequent light travelers.
September 11, 2019 @ 11:10 am
Thank you so much Pam! Glad to help! I hope you try some of those solids, I really love the Ethique solid shampoo and solid conditioner. And the solid sunscreen and solid bug repellent have been a lifesaver.
July 26, 2019 @ 6:31 pm
Can you use dry ice in checked luggage on domestic flight?
July 27, 2019 @ 7:39 pm
Hi Bert! TSA says to check with your airline, whether you want to have it in checked luggage or carry on. See more info here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/dry-ice
June 12, 2019 @ 4:04 pm
Can I carry jewelry tea bags and coffee in my hand luggage
June 13, 2019 @ 10:56 am
Yes, that’s all fine. I assume you mean coffee grounds or beans, not already brewed, liquid coffee, because that would need to comply with the liquids rules.
April 23, 2019 @ 2:45 pm
Can I bring 1.7oz. jars of face cream?
April 24, 2019 @ 2:26 pm
Hi Sharon! Yes, as long as it fits in your liquids bag.
March 5, 2019 @ 2:45 am
Have to use a certain kind of toothpaste but the only one I have is 5 oz. Can I put that in my check in bag?
March 6, 2019 @ 3:34 pm
Hi Diane! Yes, you can pack your toothpaste in your checked bag. I recommend packing it inside a makeup bag or toiletry bag or something, just in case the pressure changes cause it to leak. Also, if the toothpaste is prescription or medically necessary, you could get a note from your doctor/dentist and you should be able to take it in your carry-on luggage. Medical liquids are allowed and exempt from the normal liquids rules.
January 27, 2019 @ 1:58 pm
I haven’t flown in a good while and I have some questions that I do not see addressed. I use Bare Minerals Loose Powder as my make-up with brushes to apply. Do these items need to be packed in the 1 quart zip lock bag? If not, how should these be packed? Also, how do you pack cotton squares, q-tips and tissues?
January 28, 2019 @ 7:40 pm
Hi Mary! Powders are fine, but there is a new annoying rule that says powders in quantities over 12 ounces need to be screened separately. I recently had some salt and pepper shakers taken out to be screened separately even though they’re obviously not that big, so be aware that it could happen. I imagine they’re pretty used to seeing makeup though, so it’s probably not a big concern. But short answer is yes, you can pack that in your carry on and you don’t need to pack it in the quart bag. Your normal makeup bag should be fine for all the items you listed here. It’s just liquids that they’re concerned with, so things like mascara or liquid foundation should go in your liquid bag. You can read more about bringing makeup on a plane here.
December 10, 2018 @ 10:34 pm
Can I bring home made cookies in my carry – on personal bag?
December 11, 2018 @ 12:04 pm
Yes, you can. Read more about what to pack in your carry on and what not to pack in your carry on.
July 6, 2018 @ 5:10 pm
Just to be clear, solids (like lipstick, lip gloss, solid deodorant) are not considered “gels” and do not need to be placed in the one quart clear bag. Is that correct?
July 7, 2018 @ 10:22 am
Correct, solids do not need to go in your one quart bag. If it has the consistency of toothpaste or peanut butter, it is considered a gel or liquid.
April 16, 2018 @ 1:39 pm
can i bring one small paper bag with fruits plus handcarry luggage ?
April 17, 2018 @ 10:41 am
Hi Pamela, that should be fine, as long as you’re on a domestic flight. In general, you can’t bring fruit across international borders, but on domestic flights or if you were going to eat the fruit on the plane, it would be fine. The other thing to consider is that technically the airline could consider your paper bag to be your personal item, so if you had a normal carry-on item (like a suitcase) plus a purse plus the bag of fruit, a really nit-picky agent might tell you that you have too many items, but I highly doubt anyone would actually care at that level.
April 16, 2018 @ 1:38 pm
can i bring fruits in my hand carry ?
February 1, 2018 @ 5:45 pm
can i bring tooth past on carry on
February 2, 2018 @ 7:05 am
Yes, as long as the toothpaste tube is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller.
December 13, 2015 @ 9:38 pm
I stumbled across this blog when I typed in to google ‘ Can I bring Fabric Dye in hand luggage on a plane’ . Basically I am flying within Europe to visit my boyfriend who recently moved for work for NYE. I left a dress with him last time I was there and I want to dye it for a party we are going to. The dye is powdered and will be in a new packed from the store. Will I be allowed to carry it in my luggage or will it look suspect ?
December 13, 2015 @ 11:48 pm
Hi Megan! I can’t make any guarantees, but I don’t think that would be a problem. It’s powder, not liquid, and as long as it’s not flammable, which I don’t think powered dye is, I can’t imagine security would have any problem with it.