Traveling With Style and Beauty Products Through the Checkpoint

I hate to admit it, but I’m a bit of a product junkie. When it comes to traveling, I don’t like to skimp on my favorite personal care products in exchange for travel sized brands.

While I know I can stuff my checked bag full of products, my frugal side tells me to pack it all in my carry-on.

When you spend your hard-earned money on beauty products that you really like, you certainly don’t want to have to toss them at the checkpoint, so I wanted to share some tips to ensure your products make it to your destination with you.

Even though the rule has been in effect since 2006, officers still continue to find liquid, gel and aerosol items in carry-on bags, often from passengers who haven’t traveled in a long time or who didn’t realize that their perfume or face cream is a liquid. Our officers often hear “But this isn’t a liquid – it’s shampoo!” Officers don’t enjoy telling passengers that their liquids can’t go through the checkpoint, so we’d much rather you pack them correctly.

Perfumes, lotions, shampoos and other liquid or cream cosmetics fall under TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. The 3-1-1 rule goes like this: to be taken in a carry-on bag, all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounces or smaller containers that fit in 1 sealed zip-top plastic bag, with only 1 bag per passenger.

  • Use refillable perfume dispensers. There’s no need to pack your entire bottle of perfume or cologne as it’s likely over the 3.4 oz. limit. Instead, if you’re a frequent traveler, you can purchase a refillable travel-size perfume bottle that meets 3-1-1 requirements.
  • Pack your liquids, gels, and aerosols separate from other toiletries. For many people, it makes sense to pack your toothbrush with your toothpaste, and powder blush with liquid foundation to keep things all to one bag. It makes more sense to pack your liquids in the zip-top bag and put your razor, toothbrush, floss, lipstick and your solid deodorant in a separate bag.
  • Pack oversize liquids in your checked bag. If you’re checking a bag, you can pack unlimited quantities of liquids in it. One tip I suggest to protect the other items in your bag is to put any shampoo, lotions, etc, in a cosmetics bag or zip-top bag, just in case anything opens in flight. That will prevent anything from leaking onto your clothes. Many toiletry items, like a liquid foundation or moisturizer with a pump, allows you to turn the pump in one direction to lock it.
  • You don’t have to throw it away. If you find yourself at the checkpoint with a 6-ounce jar of expensive face cream, throwing it away isn’t your only option. In many airports, there are kiosks where you can ship an item to your destination or back to your home. You can also ask to leave the checkpoint and see if a store in the airport has a smaller container to put your product into, and then put that container in your zip-top bag and go back through security. Another option would be to go back to the ticket counter and check your bag. Yes, these options cost money, but they are options for any traveler who would rather not throw out an expensive product.

When in doubt, check it, ship it or buy it after arriving at your destination. I’ve done them all, and it’s worth it. Packing smarter on the front end reduces your chances of having to leave behind or pay to ship products when you’re at the airport.

Source: Transportation Security Administration TSA:

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