Travel style: TSA hairspray packing tips

Travel style: TSA hairspray packing tips

Looking stylish is as important to you when you travel as it is while you’re at home. Unfortunately, the Transportation Security Administration has strict rules regarding flying with liquids, and that includes your trusty bottle of hairspray. If you plan accordingly, however, you can avoid having to toss out your hairspray at the airport’s security checkpoint and instead rest easy knowing you’ll arrive at your final destination with your proper styling aids in tow.

Hairspray in your carry-on luggage

If you plan on bringing a hairspray can in your carry-on bag, you must abide by the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule. In other words, as with all liquids in your carry-on bag, your hairspray must be stored in a travel-sized container no bigger than 3.4 ounces, which in turn must fit inside your one allotted one-quart, clear, resealable bag. Once you get past the airport security checkpoint, you’re free to buy more hairspray inside airport terminal shops. Just keep in mind, if you are connecting to another flight and have to go through another round of security screenings, you can’t board with any liquids that don’t meet the TSA agents’ 3-1-1 rule. If a momentary brain freeze causes you to show up at the security checkpoint with hairspray in a container larger than 3.4 ounces, don’t fret. Some airports offer shipping kiosks where you can send your items ahead to your final destination.

Exception to the rule

The TSA offers an exception to the 3-1-1 carry-on rule, but be aware of the specific restrictions. If, for instance, you bought a bottle of hairspray larger than 3.4 ounces in a duty-free airport shop while traveling abroad, you could bring the bottle with you on board an international flight and a connecting flight within the United States. The liquid, however, must be packed in a transparent and tamper-free bag by the original retailer. You must also show proof the purchase was made within the past 48 hours.

Liquid contained in Aerosol Cans

While your hairspray may seem pretty harmless, it’s actually considered a flammable, hazardous material if it’s stored inside an aerosol can due to the container’s potential explosive nature. As a result, the TSA limits the amount of aerosol-can liquids you can include in your checked bags. The rules state that no individual aerosol container can hold more than 17 fluid ounces, and you are allowed only 68 combined fluid ounces of liquids in aerosol cans.

Cosmetics with your hairspray

If you want to include cosmetics, such as perfumes, nail polish deodorant, shaving cream, hair gel, conditioner, mousse, sunscreen, toothpaste, makeup, shampoos or lotions as part of your carry-on baggage, you’ll have to pack them in limited quantities in the same quart-sized bag as your travel-sized hairspray. All non-aerosol liquid, cream or gel-based cosmetics qualify as part of the TSA’s 3-1-1 carry-on rule, and therefore must be contained in a travel-sized bottle

Aerosol hairspray the TSA security way

It doesn't matter whether you use aerosol or pump hairspray–TSA rules are the same for both.

In your carry-on:

If you're traveling light or need a little touch-up after you land, you might want to include hairspray in your carry-on. But that big bottle can't fly in hand luggage. Your hairspray has to be in a container less than 3.4 ounces ‌and‌ fit inside a quart-sized, zippered, clear plastic bag with your other liquids. So buy travel or sample sizes or transfer a portion of your pumped product into a small spray bottle.

In your checked baggage:

Who uses only one spray? If you're a fashionista who loves using a full line–thermal spray, texture spray, shine spray and finishing spray–pack and check your full-sized set. Just make sure the total amount of sprays and other liquid toiletries in your checked luggage doesn't exceed 68 fluid ounces.

Travel Tips for safely packing sprays

Although small aerosol hairsprays in your carry-on bag are unlikely to discharge, air pressure changes in the baggage compartment can cause aerosols and pump sprays to release in flight. The FAA requires each bottle of spray to have its cap in place to prevent accidental discharge during the flight. Any pumps secured with a twist action should be engaged before packing. You might also wish to put sprays and other liquids in a plastic bag or other liquid-proof container. If they leak in flight, at least they won't ruin your outfits.