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The Surprising Things You're Forbidden to Pack Before You Go on a Plane

Picture of Jill Di Donato
Fashion Editor
Updated: 17 April 2018
If you are a regular traveler, preparing for a quick trip away may seem second nature to you. But we all get caught out sometimes—and a lack of foresight might result in you losing some of your favorite items. Here is a list of a few things you’re forbidden to pack. Some are obvious, others not so much.

This list pertains to carry-on luggage because, jet-setter that you are, you probably can’t be bothered with checking your bags—though make sure you watch out for the one item on this list that you can’t even pack in your checked luggage! As for the rest, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a 3-1-1 rule.

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The 3-1-1 rule goes like this: to be taken in a carry-on bag, all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce or smaller containers that fit in one sealed zip-top plastic bag, with only one bag per passenger. Still, what constitutes as a liquid or gel? The answer isn’t as obvious as you think.

1.) Aerosol hairspray

Make sure if you pack aerosol hairspray, it goes in a checked bag. According to the TSA, your aerosol hairspray has to be marked non-hazardous material, otherwise, it might be confiscated.

2.) Spray deodorant

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Same deal goes for spray deodorant as it does for aerosol hairspray. Or you could just switch to a solid.

3.) Cream Blush

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Did you know that cream blush is considered a gel by the TSA? So, if you want to make sure you keep your contour, make sure your cream blush follows the 3-1-1 rule, or goes into your checked luggage.

4.) Liquid or cream foundation

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Liquid and cream foundation are both banned unless under 3.4 ounces. So if you plan on bringing a big bottle, you’ll have to check them in. Hey, better extra bags at the airport than under your eyes.

5.) Shampoo and conditioner

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Shampoo and conditioner must be each less than 3.4 ounces to comply with the 3-1-1 rule.

6.) Liquid bleach

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Liquid bleach is totally forbidden in carry-on or checked luggage, so perhaps rethink packing all white everything.

7.) Body lotion

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Lotion falls under the liquid or gel category and as such, much comply by the 3-1-1 rule.

8.) Large nail clippers

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Nail clippers are OK, but make sure there an appropriate size. Leave your bigger pairs at home. Even more incentive for a vacation mani-pedi.

9.) Haircutting scissors (metal with pointed tips)

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Don’t plan on cutting your own bangs or doing any sewing while on vacation (unless you want to check a bag) because carrying on scissors that have blades that are longer than four inches from the pivot point is forbidden.

10.) Liquid eyeliner

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Can the secret to a smoldering cat-eye really be forbidden by the TSA? Absolutely—if it doesn’t comply with the 3-1-1 rule, that is.

11.) Undeveloped film

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The machines that x-ray your items will ruin your undeveloped film. The TSA advises against bringing any with you on air travel.

12.) Toothpaste

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You better pack travel size toothpaste if you want fresh breath on vacation. Regular size toothpaste is banned from carry-ons.

13.) Razor blades

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If you’re a gent who likes an old-fashioned shave, please leave your razor at home. You are not permitted to carry on any unprotected blades.

Want more packing tips? Check out how to pack like a fashion editor!