How to Pack Makeup for Travel: Tips and TSA Rules

How to Pack Makeup for Travel: Tips and TSA Rules

When navigating airport security, travelers often wonder if their packed makeup will fly or get flagged. Beauty products can be expensive and having them confiscated is a costly prospect. Plus, you don’t want to be left without your favorite products while away.

Packing travel-friendly makeup in your carry-on luggage is doable, but what kind of makeup you're taking with you matters. Knowing the TSA makeup rules will ensure you clear security with ease and don’t accidentally hold up the line.

3-1-1: TSA Rules for Makeup

The 311 liquid rule applies to all liquid and semi-liquid items you pack in your carry-on luggage – including gels and thicker makeup liquids. Put small items in 3.4 ounce containers in a clear quart-sized bag. You can bring one of these bags in your carry-on.

The 3 1 1 rule for makeup is the same. You can take liquid makeup on a plane, but these items don’t get their own bag, so know how to pack your toiletries like a pro.

Does Makeup Count as a Liquid?

Not all makeup is the same. Mascara is considered a liquid; makeup wipes are not a liquid in TSA’s rulebook.

  • Cream Blush – Cream blush is a liquid to TSA.
  • Liquid Concealer – Liquid concealer is a liquid and must follow the 311 liquid rule.
  • Lip Balm/Gloss/Lipstick – Lip balm/gloss/lipstick is not considered liquid.
  • Liquid/Gel Eyeliner– These are liquid.
  • Liquid/Gel Highlighter - These are liquid.
  • Liquid/Gel Cream Eye Shadow - These are liquid.

Powders and moist solids do not fall in the category of what is considered a liquid. To learn more, know what's allowed in your carry-on.

How to Pack Makeup for a Flight

How much makeup you can bring on the plane is limited. Knowing how to pack makeup in a carry on helps ensure you have enough space for everything you need.

Separate Liquids frim Non-Liquids

With only one quart-sized bag to fill, use that space for your liquids. This makes it easy to quickly show your liquids bag if asked by the TSA.


Long before you begin packing, plan your outfits. Coordinate colors and styles to minimize the makeup necessary for your trip. Bring items that have multiple purposes and are truly necessary.

Decant Products into Travel-Size Containers

If your favorite product is too big, pour some into a smaller container that follows what the 3-1-1 rule says. Choose something durable and spill-proof to prevent mishaps.

Place Products into Clear, Quart-sized Bag

You may want to opt for something a little sturdier than a Ziploc that still meets TSA guidelines. Remember, quart size is the largest bag allowed; you can take something smaller. 

Pack Strategically

Lip balm and hand sanitizer are likely to be used during the flight. Since they're not considered liquids (TSA allows up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer), you can keep these in a pocket or easy-to-access compartment.

Secure Your Bag

Tightly sealing each container helps prevent messes. Some travelers wrap the caps with plastic wrap or tape for additional security.

Breeze Through Security Knowing the TSA Makeup Rules

With modern security screening technology, it's nearly impossible to sneak through forbidden items. Remember, if it has moisture in it, it's likely to be considered a liquid by TSA standards. Pack well to fly through security and enjoy your trip without sacrificing your favorite essentials.

Now that you know the TSA rules regarding makeup, you can pack like a pro! Check out TravelPro®’s collection of toiletry bags to keep things safe, organized and well contained.


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