Traveling with Makeup: 10 Essential Tips and Hacks

September 23, 2019
image of Traveling with Makeup: 10 Essential Tips and Hacks

Any jet-setting fashionista knows that you have to be careful when it comes to traveling with makeup. There are so many different rules and regulations about what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on, and it can definitely get confusing.

Should you bring liquid makeup or powder? Can you even bring your favorite perfume on a plane? These are all very common questions. We’ll give you some much-needed answers and share some of our favorite tips and travel hacks below. Feel free to skip ahead to our handy infographic for a quick run-down!

Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane?

illustration describing liquid limits on airplane

The short answer is yes, you can bring makeup on a plane. However, any liquid toiletries or makeup in your carry-on luggage needs to abide by the TSA liquid rule. Each liquid container must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller, and you can only take as many of these small containers as will fit in a one-quart (one liter) clear zip-lock bag. 

If your makeup is solid, feel free to take as much as you like. Lipstick, eyeliner, cream concealer or blush and all makeup brushes are fine to bring in your carry-on bag. Powdered makeup is less regulated than liquid makeup, although any powder-like substances over 12 ounces (350ml) may get you flagged for further screening.

Containers of liquid that are larger than 3.4 ounces (regardless of the amount that’s actually left inside the bottle) must be stored in your checked luggage. The amount of liquids you can check isn’t as regulated, but remember that your liquid toiletries are more likely to spill or break in checked luggage!

Tips for Traveling with Makeup and Toiletries

Now that you know what you are and aren’t allowed to bring on a plane, we will go over some makeup travel tips and best practices to make your trip as easy as possible. These hacks will not only save you time but could save you money as well if it keeps you from getting your expensive makeup confiscated. Enjoy!

1. Bring All-In-One Makeup Products

illustration of makeup going into pouch

You can buy products that act as a combination of blush, eye color, highlighter and lipstick. Not only is it a space saver, but if it’s a solid product, it could help you cut down on the amount of powder or liquid products you need to bring. 

2. Use Contact Lens Cases as Makeup Holders

illustration of contact cleaner and case

If you’re going on a shorter trip, a great hack is to use twist-off contact lens cases as DIY makeup holders. You can fit a surprisingly large amount of serums, lotions and even foundations in these cases — and they don’t spill easily!

3. Use Plastic Wrap to Prevent Spills

image of three makeup bottles

If you’re going to be bringing any liquid toiletries with a twist-off cap, there are things you can do to make sure they don’t spill. Simply remove the cap from the bottle and place a small square of plastic wrap over the opening. Next, replace the cap. This will act as a seal and help prevent leaks!

4. Don’t Fill Bottles All the Way

illustration describing not to fill bottles all the way while traveling with makeup

Don’t have any plastic wrap lying around? You can still prevent spills by filling your liquid toiletries only 75 percent of the way. The reason they often spill in flight is because of the pressure change. Leaving some room for them to expand and contract keeps them from overflowing!

5. Place a Cotton Ball in Your Compact

an image with a mirror and compact makeup kit and cotton balls

Put a cotton ball or a cotton pad in your blush or powder compact to make sure it won’t break while you’re in transit. The cotton ball will fill the empty space in the compact and act as a buffer in case your bag is dropped or something is tossed on top of it.

6. Bring Facial Wipes Instead of Face Wash

illustration of facial wipes in box

Since liquids are restricted in carry-on bags and are more likely to spill in checked bags, it’s best to avoid bringing them if you can. A great way to do this is to bring facial wipes instead of liquid face wash! Depending on the kind you buy, they can also be more compact — plus, you can use them anywhere!

7. Only Bring What’s Necessary

image of a passport and makeup tools going into a bag

Makeup fans will tell you they have a different brush for every technique and a different blush or eyeshadow for every occasion. When you’re traveling, you don’t necessarily need to bring all of these items. Think about which ones you’re most likely to use and transfer them to a smaller makeup bag for easier transport. 

8. Use Your Clothes as Padding

an image of a shirt and socks with makeup in them

If you’re bringing breakable products or toiletries, wrap a small article of clothing around the bottle. For example, you could put small perfume bottles inside rolled-up socks. Have any waterproof clothes or rain gear packed? Use it for extra protection against product leaks!

9. Ditch The Brushes

cream while traveling

If you find your makeup brushes are taking up a lot of space, try to travel with cream and stick makeup instead. You can get cream or stick foundation, blush, eyeshadow and highlighter. Depending on your routine, you may be able to get away with not bringing a single brush!

10. Protect With Zip-top Bags

image of makeup kit in a plastic baggy

When packing makeup or toiletries, it’s helpful to separate them into zip-lock bags just in case they spill. If you want to take it a step further, you can separate your makeup by use — all eye makeup in one bag, foundation and powder in another, and so on.

TSA Rules for Makeup, Toiletries and Perfume

an image of a tsa agent holding up a makeup kit in a plastic bag

We covered the general size limits for liquids and powders, but wanted to also share the answers to some other frequently asked questions about TSA rules when it comes to beauty and grooming products. 

  • Can you bring razors in your carry-on? Safety razors and straight razors are not allowed in carry-ons and must be packed in your checked luggage. However, electric razors, disposable razors and razors with cartridges are allowed in carry-on bags. 
  • Can I pour shampoo and other liquids into unmarked travel containers? Yes, all refillable travel-size containers under 3.4 ounces are allowed in carry-on luggage.
  • Can I bring lip-gels or gel antiseptics? Liquid or gel-like items will need to be under 3.4 ounces and able to fit in your quart-size plastic bag with the rest of your liquids. Lip balms like ChapStick are not subject to this rule.
  • Can I bring aerosol products in my carry-on? Aerosol products are subject to the same rules as liquids and gels. They must be under 3.4 ounces and fit in a one-quart zip-top bag.
  • What are the TSA rules for deodorant? Stick deodorant is fine to bring on the plane. However, spray or gel deodorant will need to follow the liquid/gel restrictions and must be under 3.4 ounces.

Now that you’re armed with all of these tricks, traveling with makeup should be no problem. Just remember that you don’t have to pack every piece of makeup and every toiletry — it can be so easy to overpack. Just bring along your travel size perfume, a few toiletries and some multi-use makeup items and you’ll be set for any adventure!

infographic describing how to travel with makeup

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