Clever ways to cope with TSA shaving cream rules

That gentle “whoosh” as you spray a mound of shaving cream into your hand holds the promise of a smooth, comfortable shave. But don't plan on taking a regular can of your favorite brand along in your carry-on when you travel by air. The standard-size shaving cream on your bathroom shelf holds more than double the volume allowed by the TSA liquids rule, which also applies to aerosols. Don't worry. You won't be stuck looking unshaven and scruffy on your trip when you adapt with options that pass muster at the TSA security screening checkpoint.

TSA guidelines on shaving cream sizes

TSA has no restrictions on putting a full-size aerosol can of shaving cream in your luggage that will be checked at the airport. But in your carry-on, the aerosol must comply with the 3-1-1 rule, which is a helpfully descriptive name for the TSA liquids rule. The maximum volume of the aerosol container is 3.4 ounces, or 100 milliliters. Several manufacturers of foaming shaving cream make small, travel-size cans that are available for purchase at major retailers and online.

The same 3.4 ounce maximum applies to non-aerosol shaving gels, aftershave lotions, liquids and balms. If your favorite brand isn't available in acceptable travel-size containers, put the amount you'll need in a little plastic container with a flip-top or screw-on cap. You can either buy travel-size containers or recycle empty pill bottles or similar small containers for your traveling toiletries.

How to pack your toiletries and shaving supplies

In addition to volume restrictions, the 3-1-1 rule requires that all liquids, lotions, gels and creams in your carry-on must be in a 1-quart plastic bag. You're only allowed one bag, so in addition to your shaving supplies, toothpaste and shampoo, anything else that qualifies as a liquid all must fit inside. Always put the plastic bag at the top of your carry-on, so it's easy to take out for inspection at the TSA security checkpoint.

Smart ways to deal with the carry-on limitations, especially if your 1-quart bag gets too full to seal, include:

  • Packing a solid shaving soap bar and a brush to work up a foamy lather for shaving. Both can be completely dried after use and won't need to go in the plastic bag.
  • Save sample packets of aftershave products that are offered in the men's toiletries section of department stores and as inserts in some lifestyle magazines. The tiny space-saving packets can be discarded after use when you're traveling.
  • Use the restrictions as a great excuse to not shave at all. Although this might not be an option if you're traveling for business meetings in Chicago, it's a fun alternative if you'll be skiing in Utah or surfing in Kauai.

The TSA rules are in place for your security and safety while flying. There's no need to try to get around them, a tactic that can cause delays and penalties. Instead, use clever planning and packing so you can shave in style wherever you go.