TSA Disposable Razor Rules

By Fred Decker

The basics on toiletries for air travel

TSA Disposable Razor Rules

Whether you're traveling on business or are taking a long-awaited vacation getaway, you probably want to look your best while you're on your trip. That means shaving and keeping up with the rest of your grooming routine, which in turn raises the question of what the Transport Security Administration (TSA) lets you bring along. For most people, this isn't going to be a concern: The TSA's rules on disposable razors and other shaving devices are clear and straightforward.

The question of carry-on luggage

The question isn't so much which items can come along, as which items can go into your carry-on luggage. It's perfectly legitimate to carry dangerous items, even weapons, in your checked baggage. Firearms must be locked and unloaded, and blades must be safely sheathed, but you can bring them. Rules for your carry-on bag are necessarily tighter, because it's accessible during flight and any questionable items could be used to threaten airline staff or other passengers. If you keep that rule in mind, the TSA's guidelines make perfect sense and are easy to follow.

Bring along your disposables

The TSA considers your disposable razors to be perfectly safe. If you were stranded on a desert island with some disposable shavers, you could probably fashion them into a weapon of sorts over time, but you'd be hard-pressed to do the same on a flight. Bring as many as you're likely to need on your trip, and it never hurts to have one or two spares in case you lose or break one. Even if your carry-on luggage is packed tightly, it's easy to find room for disposables.

"Safety razors" are not disposable

One type of razor that's sometimes the subject of misunderstanding is the old-school "safety razor," which still has its fans even in the modern age of high-tech, multi-blade shavers. This is the type that takes thin, flat, rectangular blades, which may be removed and disposed of once they get dull. To be clear, this doesn't make it a "disposable" razor. The blades are a potentially lethal weapon as-is, and they can't be brought in your carry-on. If you stow the blades in your checked luggage, the empty handle can travel in the carry-on with you.

Other types of shavers

Most other common shavers are considered safe to bring in your carry-on luggage. If you favor a brand-name razor with disposable cartridges rather than low-cost disposable razors, that's fine. The blades are similar to those in a disposable and – if anything – are even harder to remove and misuse, so they meet with the TSA's approval. So does your electric or battery-operated shaver, though agents may inspect it to make sure it's legit. A notable exception is the old-fashioned "cut-throat" straight razor, still used by barbers and a handful of enthusiasts. That needs to go into your checked bag, carefully wrapped, so it doesn't open up during transit and damage your luggage or clothing.

The rest of your toiletries

What about the rest of your shaving supplies and other toiletries? Most personal care products are gels, creams or liquids, so they're subject to the TSA's 3-1-1 rule: Bring a 3.4 ounce container of each product, packed into a 1-quart bag, only 1 bag per traveler. You can find shaving cream and other toiletries packed in TSA-friendly "travel sizes," or decant small quantities of cologne, aftershave, moisturizer, skin toner and other supplies into approved travel-sized containers. If you'll be away long enough to need more than 3.4 ounces, buy a standard-sized container at your destination and leave it behind when you go home.

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.