How Many Liquids Can You Take?
Security Alert Cosmetics Packing Guide

COVID slowed us down for a couple of years, and now a few health issues challenge us.  We're still traveling if not writing about it quite so much. Our goal in 2022 was get to all seven continents in one year... and we did it.

Going forward health issues may not allow us to travel.  No one can take away those memories though.  We hope all of you are well and staying safe... and that you find some inspiration here for YOUR future travels. 

What is a Security Alert Cosmetics Packing Guide?
It's our tips for packing enough of your cosmetics, beauty supplies and hygiene products in your carry-on luggage to last for your whole trip...
and what to do if you can't.

So what about YOUR cosmetics? How can you pack them for today's airport security? 

With all of our travels, we've come up with ways to do this. Scroll on down to the bottom for our specific tips.

As an airline agent, Mark has seen it all.

Here's our security alert cosmetics packing guide...

Tips to help you think outside the box....

Well, outside the bottle and tube anyway!

A little discussion here...

...or scroll to the bottom for suggestions on specific items.

You Can Carry-on Only Small Amounts

You should know by now that you can take small amounts of liquids on the plane...

Liquids, creams and gels up to 3.4 ounces or 100ml can be carried on. Those will be small travel sizes of liquids and creams...

But sometimes it's not enough, you say!

All the liquids, gels, creams and pastes you want to carry with you onto the plane have to fit in ONE quart size (or one liter size), clear plastic bag.

That's only 7.5 by 8 inches... not a very big bag, but we work with it. Check our page on what we put in that plastic bag for tips on how we do it.

To Carry-on or Pack It In Checked Luggage?

We still recommend travel with carry-on only... but...

Since things have changed, if you just can't live without a large size of your favorite lotion, you may have to pack half your clothes and any non-liquids in your carry-on and check another small bag with the other half of your clothes and essential cosmetics and hygiene products and beauty supplies.

You CAN Pack Enough In Carry-on Luggage

You're not going to be on the plane forever... just for a few hours....

cosmetics shopping in Bhutan

We love traveling to exotic destinations,

So yes, sometimes there are long layovers and several connecting flights...

The new allowances for fluids in your carry-ons should get you through those flights.

In case you still would like to travel with carry-on only, here is our security alert cosmetics packing guide with some suggestions to consider.

If you find you need more of something once you get to your destination, go shopping. Not the tourist variety... check out general stores...

OK -- We have been shopping in some pretty exotic locations, but believe me, you can find anything you need or want almost anywhere. Try drug stores, cosmetic shops or perfume shops...

Shopping for Cosmetics in Grasse France
Shopping for Fragonard Perfume in Grasse France

...Or the mega stores that are cropping up in all kinds of places you wouldn't imagine.

Shopping for cosmetics, where the locals shop

Those mega stores don't sound cute? It's where the locals shop, and in addition to shopping for the cosmetics you need, you can get some great picnic supplies and sometimes the cheapest gas around.

So to maximize what you can carry on, what should you pack?

Security Alert Cosmetics Packing Guide for Hygiene


I'm a dental hygienist, so lets start with your teeth. You can pack your toothbrush and floss on the plane, and the sample size of toothpaste will get you through flights and layovers and at least the first several days. Your brush and floss will get your teeth clean; just use a little bit of toothpaste to make it last longer. Take gum or mints in place of mouthwash.... sugarless of course! Or those new "oral care strips" that freshen your breath.

Liquid cleansers: Consider a cleansing bar or cleansing cloths with cleansers and moisturizer that are dry out of the box. I prefer a creamy cleanser at home, but I could live with this for a few weeks.

Shampoo and Conditioner: Many hotels provide these amenities, but B&Bs don't. Your small sizes will get you through your first few days until you can find a store. Finding what is available in another country is fun.

Hand Sanitizers: You can take a small bottle of liquid sanitizer. Remember that they are also available in towelettes that can be carried anywhere.

Alert Cosmetics Packing Guide for Your Face

Moisturizer: Take along a cleanser or cleansing bar that acts as a moisturizer too so your skin needs less of your regular moisturizer. Airlines sometimes have lotions in the lavatories, and hotels stock these amenities too. These can help your sample sizes last.

On the flights, don't drink alcohol; it dries out your skin. Lather up with moisturizer before you leave home. Don't wear too much makeup on the plane... that way your won't need so many cosmetic repairs, and your sample sizes again will go farther. Our security alert cosmetics packing guide tip is for now... less is definitely better.

Sunscreen and Foundation: Three ounces of your facial sunscreen and moisturizer should be enough for a few weeks. I've read that some sheer powders and bronzers that come in a compact and have sunscreen in them. There are sunscreen towelettes available. Towelettes don't have to go into your liquids bag. If you're heading for a sun drenched location, head for a local store for the sunscreen you'll need.

Blush and Eye makeup: Go with powered blush and eye shadows and liners. Only your mascara will have to go in your little clear plastic bag.

Lipsticks and Chapsticks: Should be allowed outside of your clear plastic bag, but depending on the airline, the security agent or the country, your lipstick could have to go into the bag. Remember that gel glosses and creamy lip covers in jars must go into that bag as part of your liquids "allowance".

Security Alert Cosmetics Packing Guide...
...For The Rest Of You

Hair: Sample sizes of hairsprays and gels should get you through. Try using sprays or gels that can be fluffed up by running damp fingers through your hair to make them go farther.

Perfumes and Aftershaves: Your fellow passengers might be just as happy if you go easy on the perfume. Leave bottles at home to make more room in your little plastic bag. If you feel in need of a little scent, there are solid perfumes or towelettes available.

Deodorants: Remember to pack only solid deodorants. The less stuff you have to fit into your clear plastic bag the more room you will have for essentials.

If you decide just to check a bag and carry all the liquids you want, make sure the lids are tight and wrap them in zip lock bags. The last thing you want is a suitcase full of shampoo.

If You Decide To Check It After All

If you decide just to check a bag and carry all the liquids you want, make sure the lids are tight and wrap them in zip lock bags. The last thing you want is a suitcase full of shampoo.

Evaluate what's really important for you to have in that clear plastic bag. If you're traveling with your best friend as Mark and I do, you'll have two plastic bags to fit everything in.

For now, I plan to get by with a carry-on only using the suggestions in our security alert cosmetics packing guide. I think it adds to the trip to do a little cosmetic shopping when we arrive. No better way to get into a culture than to see what's available where the locals shop!

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

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