How to travel with cosmetics
and beauty products
What are cosmetics?
Cosmetics include a wide range of products that intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body in order to alter someone's appearance. These items include, but are not limited to, skin moisturizers, perfume, lipstick, eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, eye and facial makeup, shampoo, hair dye, skin lotion, hair moisturizer, hair conditioner, and deodorant.
What are beauty products?
Beauty products are a more general term that would include cosmetics, items used to apply or remove cosmetics, and other items intended to alter the appearance of the human body. These items would include include products such as combs, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, curling irons, hair dryers, and disposable razors.
What are beauty products and cosmetics are allowed on the plane in the US?
In the US, common beauty products and cosmetics are allowed onto an aircraft, but certain liquid, aerosol, and gel products are allowed only in checked baggage. Powder-based cosmetics and beauty products are allowed on the aircraft without any restrictions.
What are the rules for carrying cosmetics that are liquids, gels, or aerosols?
Cosmetics in the form of that are liquids, gels, or aerosols are subject to the following rules on domestic flights in the US or international flights arriving or departing the US:
- Small containers (a capacity less than 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 ml) of liquids, gels, or aerosols can be carried in checked or carry on baggage.
- Gels, aerosols, or liquids in containers with a capacity greater than 3.4 fluid ounces (100 ml) may not be brought through security in carry on baggage, but can be packed in to checked bags.
- If such containers are purchased after passing through security, they can be taken on board in carry on baggage.
What are the rules for duty-free cosmetic items?
Duty free items are typically purchased after you pass through security and before you get on the plane. If you are on the last leg of your journey, or if you are not purchasing liquids, aerosols, or gels in containers with a capacity less than 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 ml, you don't have to take any precautions. If you are traveling with larger containers and plan to change planes before your final destination, you should review the duty free liquids page for further advice.
What other beauty products are restricted from the aircraft?
In addition to liquids, gels, and aerosols in larger containers, some beauty products that have sharp edges are not allowed in your carry on baggage. While TSA allows nail clippers, tweezers, nail files, disposable razors and small scissors (blunt ends with a blade less than four inches, or 10 cm, long) in both carry on and checked bags, larger scissors and blades of any kind are only allowed in checked bags.
What about battery powered devices?
If you are packing any kind of battery powered device, you should make sure that you remove the batteries from the device before you place it in a checked bag, and make sure that any device in your carry on bag is either turned off or has the batteries removed before flight. If you need to use your device in flight, make sure that it is charged up before your flight. You can review the battery regulations page for more information on what kinds of batteries you can take on board.
Other Baggage Resources
Baggage Basics for Checked and Carry-on Items
Carry-on Baggage Advice
Top 10 Baggage Tips
Hazardous and Prohibited Baggage Items
Duty free liquid and gel items
Safety and security rules for batteries
http://www.airsafe.com/issues/baggage/cosmetics.htm -- Revised 14 September 2015