Traveling these days can be stressful and confusing with all the rules about what you can and can’t pack in your carry on bag. No one wants their things confiscated, so you might be wondering, what toiletries can you take on a plane? What size toiletries are allowed in carry on luggage?
In this post, I’ll dig into all the details so you know which toiletries are permitted on a plane, what sizes are allowed, and what you can do to reduce your liquids and travel with everything you need.
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.
Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What toiletries can you bring on a plane?
Knowing which toiletries you can take on a plane in your carry on really comes down to understanding the TSA liquids rules. Many (but not all!) toiletries are liquid, and if you follow the rules, you shouldn’t have to worry about issues at security.
TSA liquids rules
Some things are obvious. Water is a liquid, as is any other beverage or fluid item you might be traveling with. But anything that is a gel, cream, or aerosol is also considered a liquid.
If you want to pack liquids, creams, gels, or aerosols in your cabin bag, you have to follow certain rules. The TSA liquids rule limits how much liquid you can bring on a plane in your carry on bag.
All liquids in your carry on baggage must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller. A larger container that’s almost empty is still not allowed.
All liquids containers must fit into one clear quart-sized (roughly liter-sized) zip top bag. Each passenger is allowed to have only one liquids bag in their carry on luggage.
Buying travel size toiletries helps a lot, and most trips aren’t long enough for you to need more than that. If you’re not sure, track how much you use at home so you’ll know how much to pack.
Exceptions to the liquids rules
There are some exceptions to the TSA liquids limitations.
According to TSA, “Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag.”
You’re also allowed to have medically necessary liquids in larger quantities, but if you’re traveling internationally, be aware that what counts as medically necessary in the US might not count in other countries.
If you’re traveling with liquids that qualify for these exceptions, you still need to take them out of your baggage at the security screening point. You should also let the screener know you have these liquids.
This is a new rule regarding hand sanitizer that started in 2020. Instead of the normal limit of 3.4 ounces, each passenger can now bring one container that contains up to 12 fluid ounces of hand sanitizer.
This larger bottle of hand sanitizer does not need to go into your liquids bag, but you will have to take it out of your carry on bag to be screened separately.
How many toiletries can I take on a plane?
Now that you know the liquids rules, you might still be wondering how many toiletries you can bring on a plane in carry on baggage.
There isn’t a rule on the number of toiletries you can pack, but remember that all of your bottles and other liquids containers must fit in your liquids bag.
Understanding what is not allowed on a plane with regards to liquids is really all about how many travel size toiletries you can fit in that zip top liquids bag. The bag is really your limiter.
Can you bring shampoo on a plane?
Yes, shampoo is allowed in your carry on bag as long as it meets the requirements of the liquids rules. Conditioner is permitted too, as long as you follow the rules.
Any liquid shampoo you pack in your cabin bag must be in a container that’s 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller, and it must fit in your 1 quart (1 liter) liquid toiletries bag.
Years ago, I tried several different solid shampoos and conditioners, in an effort to reduce my liquids for travel. My absolute favorites are so good I’ve completely switched away from liquid shampoo and conditioner, even for when I’m at home.
I highly recommend giving solids a try. They’ll change your life, I swear.
Can you take dry shampoo on a plane?
Dry shampoo is allowed on a plane in your carry on bag, but again, it must comply with the liquids rules.
What? It’s dry, not liquid!
I know, I know, but dry shampoo comes in an aerosol container, so even though the contents are not technically liquid, you’ll still need to make sure your container is 3.4 ounces or smaller and fits in your liquids bag.
Can you bring toothpaste on a plane?
Toothpaste is a cream or gel, which means it’s a liquid, and you must comply with the liquids rules in order to pack it in your carry on luggage. This is one toiletry item you shouldn’t leave home without though, so make space for it.
Or you can try solid toothpaste tabs as another way to reduce your liquids. Here are a few different brands to 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.
>>Read more: Can you bring toothpaste on a plane?
Can you take hairspray on a plane?
If you use hairspray, you’ll be happy to hear that hairspray is one of the toiletries you can take on a plane.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but hairspray counts as a liquid, whether it’s in an aerosol bottle or not. Therefore it must comply with liquids rules if you’re packing it in your carry on luggage.
Are you packing hairspray in checked baggage? You’ll be able to pack a lot more, but be aware of the rules about aerosols in checked bags.
Can you bring sunscreen on a plane?
Traveling to the beach or another sunny destination? You’ll want to pack some sunscreen, and like all the other liquid toiletries I’ve mentioned here, it is allowed on a plane in your carry on bag.
Can you take bug spray on a plane?
Bug spray is important if you’re going to be doing lots of outdoor activities on your trip, like camping or going on a safari. Luckily bug spray is one of the toiletries that’s allowed on a plane in your hand luggage.
You know what I’m going to say next: Bug spray must be in a 3.4 ounce container (or smaller) and it must fit in your liquids bag.
Can you bring makeup on a plane?
Lots of people wear makeup and want to take it with them when they travel. And yes, your makeup is permitted in your carry on baggage, although this is one item on my list that can be a little tricky.
Do you use an eyeliner pencil? That’s not a liquid, so you don’t have to be concerned with the liquids rules.
How about mascara? You might not think about it, but mascara does count as a liquid, so make sure you pack it in your liquids bag.
TSA also has some annoying rules about powders, although the amount you have as makeup is unlikely to be of concern.
If you’re traveling with makeup, I highly recommend reading my full post about taking makeup on a plane.
Can you take deodorant on a plane?
Deodorant is another toiletry that is allowed on a plane, but exactly where you pack it depends on the type of deodorant. Solid stick deodorant is fine and not considered a liquid.
But if you use the gel type or an aerosol type, these count as liquids and must fit in your liquids bag. Read more about taking deodorant on a plane.
Can you bring nail polish on a plane?
Nail polish is allowed on a plane, and you can take it in your carry on bag. But since it’s a liquid, make sure you pack nail polish in your liquids bag.
But please don’t paint your nails while on the airplane. It has a strong smell that could really bother your fellow passengers.
Can you take lotion on a plane?
There are so many toiletries you can bring on an airplane, and that includes lotion. It’s easy to find travel sized versions of your favorite lotions, so pick up a few before your trip.
If you’re like me, you might always have a small tube of hand cream in your purse for every day use. Don’t forget to take it out and put it in your liquids bag before you reach security.
Can you bring perfume or cologne on a plane?
Perfume and cologne are both allowed on an airplane in your cabin bag, but again, the containers must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit in your liquids bag.
Many perfumes and colognes do not come in such small sizes, so you’ll need to leave those at home or pack them in your checked bag. Don’t try to sneak them through security and end up with your expensive perfume confiscated.
Can you bring shaving cream on a plane?
Shaving cream or shaving lotion is also considered a liquid. This is yet another toiletry item that is allowed in your hand luggage but must comply with liquids restrictions.
Buy some travel sized shaving cream for your trip, or pick up a bottle when you arrive. And read more about bringing a razor on a plane.
Can you bring wet wipes on a plane?
Despite having the word wet in the name, wipes are not considered a liquid by TSA. So whichever type you’re traveling with – wet wipes, makeup wipes, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes – they’re all permitted in your carry on bag without any restrictive liquids rules.
Hopefully this answers all your questions about taking toiletries on a plane. Make sure you understand how much liquid is allowed on a plane, consider solid toiletries for travel to reduce your liquids, and you’ll be on your way to stress-free packing.
What other types of toiletries are you wondering about? Did I miss a toiletry item you’re curious about? Ask me in the comments!
You might also enjoy:
- Can you take batteries on planes?
- Can you bring food on a plane?
- Can You Bring a Mobility Scooter on a Plane? Plus Flying With a Wheelchair
- What to Pack for a Trip: Travel Packing Checklist for Carry-On Only