What Does the TSA Say on Hairspray?

By Leah Rendon

Travel style: TSA hairspray packing tips

What Does the TSA Say on Hairspray?

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

If you plan on bringing hairspray in your carry-on bag, you must abide by the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. In other words, as with all liquids in your carry-on bag, your hairspray must be stored in a 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 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 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 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.

Safe packing tips

According to the TSA's rules, all aerosol cans must be securely capped. The rule might just save your packed clothing from damage as well should the nozzle accidentally release inside your bag during your travels. Save yourself some hassle and avoid bringing hairspray in metallic or opaque bottles in your carry-on luggage. Containers made from those materials are difficult to screen, and you may be forced to add them to your checked baggage or simply throw them away.

Cosmetics with your hairspray

If you want to include cosmetics, such as perfumes, makeup, shampoos or lotions, as part of your carry-on luggage, you’ll have to pack them in the same one-quart bag as your hairspray. All liquid, cream or gel-based cosmetics qualify as part of the TSA’s 3-1-1 carry-on rule.

About the Author

A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.