Can you carry makeup in your purse on a plane?

The short answer is yes, you can carry makeup in your purse on a plane. However, there are some guidelines and restrictions to be aware of when bringing makeup items in your carry-on luggage on an airplane.

TSA Regulations on Makeup

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to bring travel-sized toiletries, liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols in your carry-on bag as long as they are 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less per container. These containers must be placed in a single quart-sized zip-top plastic bag for screening at airport security checkpoints.

So you can bring your makeup essentials like mascara, lip gloss, foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and other items as long as they meet the 3.4 oz size restriction. This includes liquid or cream-based makeup products as well as makeup brushes and tools.

Some tips when packing makeup in your purse for a flight:

  • Stick to travel or sample sizes of your makeup items
  • Transfer products from larger containers into smaller, 3.4 oz bottles or tubes if needed
  • Make sure all containers have clear labels
  • Place all containers in a quart-sized Ziploc bag to speed up screening
  • Be prepared to remove the Ziploc of makeup from your purse and place it in a bin for x-ray screening

If any of your makeup containers are over 3.4 oz, you will need to place them in your checked luggage or leave them at home. TSA will confiscate any oversized liquids, gels, or creams if carried through a checkpoint.

Liquid, Gel, and Cream Makeup Rules

The 3.4 oz (100ml) rule applies to any makeup products that are liquid, gel, cream, mousse, or paste. This includes:

  • Foundation, tinted moisturizer, BB cream, CC cream
  • Liquid or cream blush, bronzer, highlighter
  • Liquid or gel eyeliner, mascara
  • Cream or liquid eye shadows, primers
  • Lip gloss, liquid lipstick, lip stains
  • Concealers, correctors in liquid or stick form

These types of makeup products must follow the 3.4 oz size limit per container. You may bring multiples of 3.4 oz bottles and tubes in your quart-sized bag. Just remember if any container is over 3.4 oz, it won’t make it through security.

Powder Makeup Rules

For powder makeup products, the 3.4 oz rule does not apply. You can bring any amount or size of:

  • Pressed or loose powder foundations
  • Powder blush, bronzer, highlighter
  • Eyeshadow palettes or compacts
  • Pressed or loose setting powder
  • Powder eye products like eyeshadow primer

These can be brought in your purse without size restrictions. Do keep in mind that while powders are exempt from the rules, security may ask you to remove larger makeup palettes from your bag and scan them separately if needed.

Other Makeup Items Allowed

In addition to liquid/gel/cream products under 3.4 oz and powder products of any size, there are some other makeup items you can bring aboard:

  • Makeup brushes and applicators
  • Spatulas or wands for cream products
  • Contacts and contact lens solution (under 3.4 oz)
  • Setting and fixing sprays (under 3.4 oz)
  • Solid lipsticks, balms, and waxes
  • Brow pencils, powder, waxes
  • Eyelash curlers
  • Tweezers
  • Sharpener

These tools and solid makeup products are all allowed in carry-on luggage with no restrictions. Stow them neatly in makeup bags or small pouches in your purse.

Makeup Items Not Allowed

There are some makeup items that are prohibited in carry-on luggage and can only be packed in checked bags if at all. These include:

  • Nail polish and nail treatments
  • Aerosol products like hairspray (even under 3.4 oz)
  • Straight razors, including safety razors
  • Anything containing over 3.4 oz of liquid, gel, or cream

Nail polish is restricted due to being flammable. Aerosols are banned altogether. Razors must be checked. And any oversized makeup liquids need to be checked or left at home.

Where to Pack Makeup in Your Purse

The best places to stow your makeup inside your purse for getting through airport security quickly and easily include:

  • A designated makeup bag, train case, or pouch
  • Inside small zippered pockets if your purse has them
  • Interior side pockets or pouches
  • Attached removable cosmetic cases or pouches
  • Use organizer inserts to keep items together neatly

Packing your makeup neatly into an easy to remove pouch or bag will make the screening process faster. TSA officials can easily take the entire makeup kit out of your purse and scan it in the machine.

Avoid packing makeup loosely at the bottom of your purse. Loose items take longer to screen. Anything not in a bag may have to be placed in a screening bin individually, holding up the line.

Tips for Flying with Makeup in Your Purse

Follow these tips to make it easy and convenient to bring makeup in your purse through airport security:

  • Consolidate makeup into one quart-sized plastic bag for quicker screening.
  • Use smaller makeup bags or kits to stay organized.
  • Bring only essential makeup for touch ups and application upon arrival.
  • If traveling internationally, check country-specific liquid restrictions.
  • Put all liquid, gels, cream products at the top of your purse for easy access.
  • Have ID tags with your name and contact info on each makeup bag.
  • Pack powder products separately from liquids to avoid spills or breakage.
  • Bring makeup removal wipes and moisturizer for on the plane.
  • Carry-on makeup allows for quick touchups upon landing.

What If Your Makeup Doesn’t Meet the Rules?

If you end up at the airport with makeup items in your purse that don’t meet TSA guidelines, you have a couple options:

  • Check prohibited items: If you have time before your flight, you may be able to take items like oversized liquids back to the check in counter and check them with your luggage.
  • Mail items home: There are services at some airports that allow you to mail banned items back home so they aren’t confiscated.
  • Surrender or dispose of items: You can voluntarily give up banned items to TSA officials before going through security.
  • Leave security line: If you don’t want to surrender an item, you can leave the line and find a way to remove it from your purse before trying again.

When in doubt, it’s always safest to check restricted makeup items or leave them behind. Trying to pass through airport security with unauthorized items can lead to bag searches, confiscation, fines, or even arrest in severe cases.

Can You Buy Makeup After Passing Through Security?

If you had to surrender some of your makeup before going through security, you may be wondering if you’re able to purchase replacements once inside the airport terminal. The answer is yes!

Most larger airports will have convenience shops and travel stores after security that sell a variety of travel essentials. You’ll be able to find small sizes of common makeup items like mascara, lip gloss, moisturizers, eye shadow, pressed powder, and more.

Duty-free stores located past security also offer makeup shopping options. Brands carried will vary by airport. Prices in duty-free are often discounted compared to regular retail.

There are also vending machines that have become popular in airports for grabbing headphones, neck pillows, snacks, and various sundries on the go. Some even carry small liquid cosmetics and beauty products now.

So while you may have to give up oversized makeup before boarding, there are ample opportunities to replace basics once you’ve passed through security screening.

Can You Bring Makeup in Your Carry-On?

Yes, makeup is allowed in your carry-on luggage as long as it adheres to TSA liquid rules (3.4 oz or less for liquids/gels/creams).

The same regulations apply whether your makeup is packed into a purse, backpack, tote bag, briefcase, or other type of carry-on bag.

Advantages of putting makeup in your carry-on rather than checking it include:

  • Makeup is available for use upon landing at your destination.
  • You avoid checked bag fees applied by some airlines.
  • There is less risk of makeup breaking or melting compared to checked luggage.
  • You retain possession of expensive or special makeup items.
  • Quick touch ups are possible during long flights.

As long as you follow TSA rules, you can pack an assortment of your favorite makeup items in your carry-on for convenience during your travels.

Can You Get Makeup Confiscated at Airport Security?

Yes, TSA will confiscate makeup items at airport checkpoints if they violate the liquid/gel/cream restrictions for carry-ons. This is what can get confiscated:

  • Any liquids, gels, aerosols, creams in containers larger than 3.4 oz/100 ml.
  • Travel-size items over the limit (e.g. 5 oz bottle)
  • Items labeled 3.4 oz that actually contain more.
  • Multiple containers totaling over 3.4 oz even if individually under (e.g. five 1 oz bottles).

Powder makeup does not have size restrictions. But oversized liquid makeup is at risk of being confiscated if you try to carry it on a plane.

If prohibited makeup items are discovered during security screening, TSA officials will give you options which typically include:

  • Place item(s) in checked baggage if you have not boarded yet.
  • Voluntarily abandon item(s) by disposing of them at the checkpoint.
  • Exit the security line and find an outlet for prohibited item(s) outside the checkpoint.

If you refuse to comply, you will not be allowed to pass through the checkpoint with the items, resulting in confiscation.

To avoid losing your makeup, make sure it follows carry-on rules before arriving at the airport. Oversize liquids that could spill during flight are prohibited for good reason.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Liquid Makeup Rules?

The TSA does not make exceptions when it comes to restricted items, including oversized makeup liquids, gels or creams. The 3.4 oz (100ml) rule is firmly in place as a safety precaution.

There are certain exempted liquids that are allowed in larger quantities like:

  • Baby formula/milk if traveling with a child
  • Prescription medications with a name label
  • Contact lens solution with a name label

But cosmetics and makeup do not qualify for exceptions under TSA guidelines, regardless of circumstance. The rules exist to limit the volume of potentially dangerous liquids allowed on planes.

If you absolutely need specific makeup for medical reasons, your only option is to pack it in checked luggage vs. a carry-on. Some airlines may be willing to gate-check a bag right before boarding to assist in these cases.

For everyone’s safety, oversize makeup liquids simply cannot be permitted through TSA checkpoints. Planning ahead and packing correctly is key to bringing your makeup onboard flights.

Can You Bring Makeup in Your Carry-On Internationally?

Different security rules may apply when flying internationally with carry-on luggage. Some countries follow the same 3-1-1 liquid guideline as the U.S. But others enforce more restrictive policies.

For example, the European Union limits liquid volumes to 100ml or less per container. Australia’s rule is only 75ml per item.

Before traveling overseas, be sure to check your destination country’s specific airport security rules. Bringing carry-on makeup that’s over the allowed volume internationally could result in confiscation at security.

When preparing makeup for an international flight, follow these tips:

  • Consult destination country’s liquid carry-on rules.
  • Stick to samples and bottles 3.4oz/100ml or less.
  • Ask TSA about connecting flights with different rules.
  • Store liquids in a clear 1 quart zip-top bag.
  • Check rules for your departing airport too.
  • Avoid packing anything over 3.4oz to be safe.

Abiding by the most restrictive liquid volume allowances gives you the best chance of clearing security with your makeup no matter where you fly.


It is perfectly legal to bring makeup in your purse or other carry-on when flying, as long as you follow TSA guidelines. Liquids, gels and creams must adhere to the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz or less, 1 quart bag, 1 bag per passenger). Powders have no restrictions.

Packing makeup smartly like consolidating into bags and separating by type will make the security process smoother. Be prepared to surrender prohibited items or place them in checked baggage when necessary.

Flying internationally adds an extra layer of complexity. Research specific liquid rules for any destination country to avoid problems. When in doubt, stick to tiny bottles 3.4 oz and under.

With the right preparation and knowledge of TSA regulations, you can bring essential makeup items in your purse aboard flights for convenience during your travels.

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