Does TSA Consider Your Mascara To Be A Liquid?

When traveling by plane, there are some items deemed too dangerous for the friendly skies. Many are obvious, such as firecrackers and flare guns. However, some harmless everyday items are also regulated simply due to them being liquid, including mascara.

TSA's 3-1-1 liquid rule allows each passenger to bring only a quart-sized bag of liquid items in their carry-on luggage, with each individual container holding no more than 3.4 ounces of fluid. Here's the genius TikTok hack to get around TSA liquid rules. Containers that exceed these guidelines must be placed in checked luggage instead. Though TSA's instructions are pretty straightforward, the confusing part is figuring out exactly what counts as a liquid and what's thick and firm enough to be considered a solid.

When it comes to your favorite lash-enhancing mascara, the security agency states on its website that the cosmetic is considered a liquid, no matter the formula. That means you must follow the 3-1-1 rule when packing mascara on vacation. Thankfully, an average tube is much smaller than the 3.4-ounce allowance, making it easy to stash in your purse or carry-on suitcase.

How to pack mascara when flying

If you plan to keep your mascara on you while flying, as opposed to packing it in checked luggage, it's a good idea to group it with your other cosmetics to avoid losing the tube in transit. Separate the liquid items from any solid ones to make the screening process worry-free. TSA urges travelers to pack liquids in a clear, zippered bag (remember, it must be quart-sized or smaller!) so security officers can quickly screen them separate from other personal belongings.

If you're traveling with a leaky mascara tube, or if you're worried your other liquids might spill onto your makeup, try this genius trick to keep liquids from spilling in your suitcase. The balloon hack prevents messes and helps reinforce the caps and lids on your containers. You can also wrap each container in plastic for an extra leak-proof barrier. Finally, if your mascara and other makeup packaging is on the delicate side, try lining your plastic zip-top bag with a soft towel to soften any impact.

TSA rules for other eye products

If you're traveling with mascara, you might want to pack along a few other eye products, too, such as eyeliner and eye creams. Just like your go-to lash enhancer, these items may also be considered liquids by TSA agents. The rule of thumb is that if the formula is spreadable, it's a liquid and must comply with the 3-1-1 rule. That means liquid eyeliner, liquid eyebrow pens, and gel-like lash and brow serums fall into the liquids category and must be packed accordingly. Dry eyeliner and eyebrow pencils, as well as powder eyeshadows, on the other hand, aren't counted as liquids.

Unsurprisingly, eye drops are subject to TSA's liquid rule and can only be carried in small containers, as are eye creams and similar lotions intended for the skin around the eyes. Leeway is given to passengers traveling with contacts and a contact lens solution, however. TSA doesn't consider contacts to be liquid (and here's how to travel with your lenses), meaning you can bring as many pairs as you need. Lens solution is viewed as a medically necessary item and isn't limited to 3.4-ounce bottles, though it may require additional screening if kept in your carry-on bag. To avoid any hassle, TSA suggests packing large quantities of contact solution in your checked luggage.