makeup on a plane

Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane?

You are packing for a flight and start to gather your dearly beloved makeup products. Suddenly, a question pops up in your head: “Can you bring makeup on a plane?”. We all understand how makeup and different cosmetics can be important for people since there are occasions and professions that actually require cosmetics.

Wherever you plan to travel to, airlines inevitably charge passengers for stowed baggage. Due to this, many passengers decide on only bringing carry-on luggage to reduce their expenses.

Since there is only limited space in your carry-on luggage capacity, choosing which makeup to bring can be difficult. To make things even complicated, there are a set of regulations implemented by the TSA regarding makeup on a plane. So, can you bring makeup on a plane?

Can you bring makeup on a plane?

Yes, you can bring makeup on a plane as long as they follow the standards set out by the TSA.

Allowed makeup when traveling

What kinds of makeup can you bring on a plane?

Knowing which types of makeup are allowed can be complicated. You have to figure out what is permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.
This makes the whole idea of packing for flights a complex undertaking for most people. So, what are the rules and regulations do you need to follow when bringing makeup on a plane?

The TSA has identified what you can or cannot bring on a plane as carry-on and/ or checked luggage. This set of rules include makeup and other beauty products such as nail polish, eyeliner, moisturizers, and many more.

Known as the “3-1-1 rule”, this rule discusses the requirement in order for a product to be stored in carry-on luggage. Otherwise, you must store the item with your checked luggage or not bring at all.

The 3-1-1 rule

Passengers can bring to carry gels, liquids, creams, and most aerosols as long as they follow the following general guidelines:

  1. They are non-flammable
  2. Items are classified as without any hazardous material labels, and
  3. They can all fit in a single quart-sized bag.

    Each passenger can have up to one quart-sized bag and must see to it that they follow the limit capacity. Most makeup products fall under the liquid category and must observe the 3-1-1 rule.

    Can you bring makeup on a plane as a carry-on? The 3-1-1 rule indicates that any liquids in carry-on should be kept in a container that is no more than 3.4 ounces. The container must also be re-sealable to prevent any accidental spills.

    All liquid and cream products under the 3-1-1 rule must fit comfortably in a single quart-sized bag. The bag must be transparent and re-sealable like a plastic Ziploc bag. Authorities will screen the bag as part of carry-on when going through airport security.

TSA Powder Rule

Many airlines indicate that any powders exceeding 12 ounces (350ml) are only allowed to be packed as checked luggage. In addition, TSA requires that any powder-like substances greater than 12 ounces/350mL should be kept in a separate bin for X-ray scans.

Any additional screenings like opening and inspecting the powders may also be performed depending on the situation.

To avoid any issues, it is best to pack non-essential powders exceeding 12 ounces in checked luggage.

makeup on a plane

Security Preparations

TSA regulations require that passengers contain liquid contents of cosmetic bags in a single quart-sized bag. The bag must be see-through and have a zipper lock. Cosmetic items should be transferred from the makeup bag into a plastic bin during security checkpoints for screening.

There are exceptions to this regulation, like eye drops and saline solution. Passangers can bring these liquids in greater amounts and are not required to keep them in the quart-sized bag.

Liquid Cosmetics

As indicated by the TSA, the amount of liquids allowed on a plane as carry-on should follow the 3-1-1 rule.

TSA classifies liquid cosmetics such as nail polish, eyeliner, and moisturizers as liquids. You must follow the 3-1-1 rule in order to be allowed as carry-on. The option of transferring any liquid from its original oversized bottle to smaller containers below 3.4 ounces is also acceptable.

Passenger must store liquid makeup in a one-quart bag with a zipper-lock top. The bag must also be see-through to identify its contents easily.

TSA limits each person to only one quart-sized bag for all their liquid products.

bring nailpolish on plane

Nail polish

Authorities consider Nail polish as liquid. Thus may bring it on a plane if it does not exceed 3.4 ounces in capacity. Passenger needs to store nail polish in a zipper-lock bag along with other liquid and cream items.

Thankfully, nail polish mostly comes in bottles that are lower than 3.4 ounces, so you should generally not come across any issues with exceeding the allowed amounts of nail polish.

skincare products on a plane

Perfume/ cologne

You can bring perfume on a plane. Since perfume is a liquid, the bottle must not be larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml) in capacity. You can transfer your cologne to a smaller container if the original bottle exceeds the allowed size and capacity.

Any larger bottles or perfume that are greater than 3.4 ounces will be denied on a plane and confiscated. It is a good idea to purchase travel-sized bottles of your cologne or perfume to avoid any issues at security checkpoints. Or, you can even decide on a non-liquid perfume like a solid perfume stick.

Also, take note of how perfumes can be irritating to some people aboard a plane. It is never a good experience for someone with allergy or sensitivity to be seated next to someone wearing perfume that can trigger their conditions.

Some people can just generally find the scent displeasing. It would be best if you only wear light amounts of perfume on a plane or refrain from applying any only until you arrive at your destination.

cosmetics on plane


TSA considers mascara as a liquid and must follow the 3-1-1 rule. You can pack it in your carry-on luggage as long as it does not go beyond the set amount of 3.4 ounces.


Acetone is highly flammable and is a main ingredient in nail polish. Since acetone will likely be still present in some nail polish today, it is only allowed on a plane in small bottles of no greater than 3.4 ounces in capacity.

This must be sealed and not be used. Any opened and used acetone will be denied on a plane and confiscated.

Non-Liquid Cosmetics

Make-up that falls under the non-liquid category usually consists of cosmetics such as powders, blushes, and lipstick. TSA allows these non-liquid cosmetics to be packed as carry-on without any limits.

TSA considers solid lip balms as non-liquid. Passangers can bring lipbalms handluggage without any restrictions. Gel lip balms, on the other hand, are liquid cosmetics and must follow the 3-1-1 rule.

Non-liquid cosmetics are exempted from the 3-1-1 rule and can be stored how in your bag as you usually would.

It is optimal to pack solid makeup in carry-on luggage to limit the number of liquid products you have to carry when traveling.

Powder Makeup

You can take powder makeup on a plane as hand luggage. But any powder substances exceeding 12 ounces (350ml) will go through further screening.
The TSA generally powders on a plane without needing to take them out of luggage for inspections at security airports. Only powders that go beyond the limit of 12 ounces are subject to additional screening.


Liquid toiletries such as spray deodorants and gel packed as carry-on are subject to the rules of liquids. T0his means that passengers must observe the 3.4-ounce limit and single quart-sized bag requirement. Most aerosol products like shaving cream, toothpaste, and the like are classified as liquid and should follow the 3-1-1 rule.

Although some aerosol products are allowed, flammable and classified as HAZMAT are not allowed. This covers most aerosol products that come in a can since the spray propellant is what makes the product flammable. Check if you can bring your aerosol here.

Thankfully, toiletries can generally be purchased in travel sizes that abide by the 3-1-1 rule.

powder makeup carryon

Compact/Makeup Mirror

Rules and regulations employed by the TSA do not specifically mention anything about bringing makeup mirrors onboard a plane. Some airlines may classify this as a form of sharp object, while others are ok with it. Check your local guidelines to be sure.

Wet wipes

You can bring wet wipes as carry-on luggage and are not required to keep it in the zipper-lock bag of liquid and cream products. They are not counted as liquids and are welcome as hand baggage in the USA.

Sharp objects

Can you bring makeup on a plane regardless of any sharp edges? TSA allows any conventionally sharp objects included in a cosmetics bag in a carry-on luggage. Of course, this does have restrictions like a 4-inch length limit to a scissor’s blade, and anything exceeding this limit will be denied on board a plane. This also includes scissors that have pointed tips.

Safety razor blades can only be packed as checked luggage, while disposable razors along with their cartridges should be in a carry-on. You can also bring as carry on other sharp objects like nail clippers and tweezers.

TSA insists that all sharp objects be encased in protective wrapping to prevent any injury to luggage handlers that will check the bags.

Additionally, you can bring sharp objects in checked luggage as long as you wrap or sheath them.

sharp nail manicure objects tools on a plane

Nail files

Nail files are allowed in carry-on bags. TSA allows nail files on a plane, even the metal ones.

However, airlines might still not allow metal nail files depending on the agent, as they can decide whether it is too sharp or not. It is better to just decide on bringing a non-metal nail file.

Nail clippers

Nail clippers can also be found in a makeup kit. You can bring and take them on a plane as part of carry-on luggage.

manicure products allowed on plane


Tweezers can be considered as part of cosmetics and are generally allowed on planes under the condition that they are not too sharp. The TSA allows tweezers on a plane if they are not likely to be effective weapons and can be kept in carry-on bags.

Some airlines are especially stern regarding blades on a plane and might deny tweezers depending on their security guidelines. Generally, the decision will depend on whether the product is too sharp or not.

Nail scissors

The TSA states that any nail scissors packed in carry-on luggage should not exceed 4 inches in length from the pivot point. This rule may not apply to some countries since they can be especially strict regarding blades like scissors on a plane. It might be better to refrain from bringing any items that include a blade, especially if it exceeds the length of 4 inches if you do not want to run into airlines that can potentially confiscate your item.

Also, take note of how the rules and limits regarding blade length vary depending on the country or airline. Some airlines and countries only permit scissors aboard a plane if they do not exceed 6cm or 2 inches from the pivot point.

irons allowed on a plane

Flattening Iron

TSA, and most countries allow electric flattening irons. However, you can only bring butane-fueled curling irons in carry-on luggage. This goes the same for curling irons that contain gas cartridge.

It is important to keep the device securely stored to prevent any accidental activations which could be dangerous. Additionally, any gas refills or spare cartridges are not permitted in either carry-on or checked luggage.

Other nail equipment regulations

TSA allows manicure and nail clippers, but any blades must not be greater than 4 inches in length when measured from the pivot point.

Also, take note of how regulations regarding such blades and sharp objects may differ in some airlines. Aside from the few airlines that do administer more strict protocols, feel free to include your manicure kit in your carry-on bags.


Cigarettes are allowed to be brought on planes as carry-on, but the assigned TSA officer will be the one to decide whether it needs to go through the security checkpoint.

As checked luggage, TSA allows cigarettes but will subject your luggage for scanning and searching.

Also, the TSA allows cartons on cigarettes when packed as checked luggage on domestic flights. This means there is no limit to the amount of cigarettes you want to bring as you would like as long as you are flying domestically.

The TSA holds no specific rules regarding the number of allowed cigarettes. This applies to both opened and unopened cigarette packs.

cigarettes on a plane

In importing cigarettes, US customs and Border Protection allows US residents coming from international flights to bring a limit of 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes on their return.

US customs and Border Protection will also require US residents to indicate cigarette quantity they have in possession upon landing. Exceeding the number of allowed cigarettes will result in a tax pay or fine. Many countries also have similar regulations but vary in the number of allowed cigarettes.


You can bring most makeup and cosmetics products on a plane, but you would need to ensure that you follow the TSA’s rules regarding these items. It is best to prepare by first identifying the liquid products and transferring them into smaller bottles that fall below 3.4 ounces in capacity. You can conveniently purchase travel-sized bottles of your liquid items to avoid the hassle of transferring products to the appropriate-sized containers.

See to it that all of your travel-sized liquids can fit snugly in a single quart-sized plastic bag. The bag must have a zipper-lock and clear enough to see its contents.

Basically, everything you decide to bring on a plane will be inspected with the possibility of confiscation with a number of items. It is important to keep in mind that there will always be a chance that one of your belongings will be confiscated regardless of whether you fully follow the rules or not.

Due to this inevitability, only bring travel-sized products that would not cause too much issue if they were to be lost, stolen, or confiscated. Decide on leaving your expensive cosmetic products at home, and you will greatly reduce the chances of losing any costly and beloved beauty items.

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