All The Wellness Items You Can Fly With + Some You May Want To Leave Home
Holiday season is here—and for many of us that means traveling home or afar. If you are perpetually confused about the airport security rules, you're not alone. I feel like every time I make my way through TSA, there's another adjustment to the rules. And while I appreciate that they are there to keep us safe, it can get a little murky regarding your items. And there's a certain sinking frustration that comes from watching the agent toss one of your favorite items because you were confused about nuances of gels versus liquids.
Liquids & gels
We'll start with the biggest one: This includes everything from liquid foundations to drinks (more on foods later; that deserved its own category). These are fine to check but will need to be in 3.4 fluid ounces or less if you are planning to carry on. And these all must fit in a 1-quart bag.
Of course, there are exceptions for medication and children. All medication should be labeled clearly, so the agent can assess the items. Liquid or gel medications—as well as tools like ice packs or syringes—will likely require an extra look, so be mindful of that.
And for babies, things like breast milk, formula, or even juices, have special exceptions. The TSA notes to simply inform the agent while it's going through security, so they are notified, and to keep it at a "reasonable amount."
One of the more confusing aspects of this category are the personal care products, so here's a breakdown of what you might be curious about:
- Dry shampoos, although the texture might be a powder, should adhere to these standards.
- Hair sprays and texturizers fall under the liquid rule. Also, if you are checking an aerosol spray, it must be under 18 fluid ounces.
- In-shower products (shampoos and conditioners) are liquids.
- Liquid eyeliners are, yes, liquid. I can't imagine you'd find one larger than the limit, but you do need to make sure it's bagged with your other liquids. Same goes for mascara. And for all other liquid makeup items: foundations, blushes, primers, bronzers.
- Solid makeup items (eyeshadows and the like) are fine. So are lip balms and lipsticks.
- Makeup removers are liquids; makeup wipes are OK.
- Nail polish and polish remover are liquids.
- Bar soap is fine; all liquid products—from washes to serums—must be restricted.
- Deodorant is a solid.
- Toothpaste is a gel.
Good to go! And fortunately many wellness-related products come in powder form, so if you are a frequent traveler, it might be useful to make the switch in a few of these cases—or at least have them handy for when you do travel. Consider mineral foundations, cleansers, supplements, and protein powders.
TSA officials may ask you to separate it from your bag, but that's because it can hinder visibility under the X-ray. They also note that powders over 12 fluid ounces, while allowed, might require additional screening and should be placed in checked bags—for convenience more than anything else.
Liquid and gel foods are held to the same standards as the above (fine for checked bags, size restrictions for carry-ons), and solid foods are generally fine. The problem is that many people aren't quite sure what "category" their foods fall into. So we created a handy list of all the healthy foods you might want to pack into your carry-on, and what you should know about the TSA's guidelines.
- Creamy dips and spreads—like hummus—are considered liquids and gels. Same goes for salsa and sauces.
- Yogurts are considered a liquid.
- Fresh fruits within the U.S. are acceptable, with the exception of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dried fruits are OK.
- Nut butters are technically considered a liquid or gel.
- Sandwiches, however, are fine.
- You can also bring protein or energy bars.
- Spices are considered a powder and follow the same standards.
- Coffees and teas are fine in raw form (i.e., not brewed or steeped).
- Solid cheese is fine (this includes hard or semisoft), but anything creamy (think cottage or ricotta) is considered a liquid or gel. You cannot bring unpasteurized cheese in any form.
There's some confusion regarding CBD and the like. The TSA's official stance is this: "Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA." Might be worth it to keep your CBD oils or pens at home.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.