Can You Bring Aerosols/Hairspray on a Plane?

Flying is often the most stressful part of any trip, and the last thing anyone wants is to get delayed because their luggage doesn’t meet regulations. However, you may have items like hairspray, where the rules aren’t clear. 

For example, can you take hairspray, spray deodorant, or dry shampoo aerosols on a plane? 

You can take hairspray and aerosol cans on the plane if the bottle is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller. You have to put bigger items in checked baggage. 

This article explains everything you need to know about bringing items like aerosol hairspray and other hair styling products on your flight. It will also address other allowed items and how to keep them safe while in the air. 

Rules for Hairspray on a Plane

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides all the information flyers need when planning to pack their carry-on baggage and checked bags. You can search for specific items on their website, where they explain whether you can bring them in your carry-on or checked luggage or if they’re restricted entirely. 

But where does aerosol hairspray fall on that list?

You can bring hairspray on a plane, along with other aerosols, since the TSA classifies them as liquids and treats them as such in carry-on and checked luggage. Thus, you can have travel-size hairspray as part of your general toiletries allowance in your carry-on bag. 

However, to get through the TSA security checkpoint, you have to store hairspray cans and all other items properly. You must have all liquid contained in a bag and in limited quantities if it is in hand luggage. 

Here’s what to consider to easily get through the security checkpoint for both hand luggage and hold luggage:

  • According to the TSA liquids rule, all aerosol cans, like aerosol hairspray, hair mousse, and shaving cream, in carry-ons must be in bottles of 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller. 
  • You can have full-sized aerosol hairsprays and other aerosol spray cans in checked baggage.
  • To bring hairspray on a plane, it must fit into a 1-quart sized clear plastic bag along with your other toiletries.
  • You can only have medical or toiletry aerosols, like hairspray, on a plane, not others. You cannot have spray paint, for example, even in checked luggage. 
  • Non-aerosol hairspray and cans, like pump hairspray, still must be in your 1-quart liquids bag. 
  • It’s best to take solid toiletries and non-aerosol versions of products. However, if your favorite hairspray is an aerosol, you just need to follow airport security guidelines. 

As you can see, TSA hairspray rules aren’t that strict, and aerosol hairsprays aren’t dangerous. But failing to follow liquids rules could see your hairspray confiscated and thrown out at airport security. 

So, if you want to take hairspray with you, it’s best to put it in checked luggage. Or, even better, pack solid alternatives of your toiletries, such as solid deodorant or non-aerosol hairspray that has to be physically pumped. 

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Why Does Hairspray Have So Many Rules?

The ability to bring full-sized hairspray in checked baggage is helpful for those who don’t like stuffing travel-sized hairsprays and other items in already crammed carry-on baggage. But you may be wondering why, if having hairspray and other liquid toiletries on a plane isn’t dangerous, there are so many TSA rules for bringing them on a plane? 

There are many regulations for aerosols and liquid products, like hairspray, because of an attempt to smuggle several bottles of liquid explosives onto a UK aircraft in 2006. Since then, the TSA has restricted liquids to a small collection of 3.5-ounce (99 g) bottles in carry-on luggage. 

Because of continued threats of terrorism worldwide, the hairspray rule still stands. According to Kip Hawley, the former TSA administrator, the 1-quart plastic bag is less than what someone would need to blow something up with explosive chemicals. 

This rule also reduces the chances of other accidents that might happen mid-air in carry-on luggage. For instance, you might have your hairspray explode on the plane because of pressure changes. 

As for the full-sized bottles allowed in checked baggage, the check-in process gives agents a chance to verify the substance and ensure it is not a hazardous material. 

Having to stuff all makeup items and toiletries into a small storage receptacle can be frustrating, but there are reasons for it. Until we have the technology to detect dangerous liquids, we’re stuck with the TSA’s rules on carry-on liquids and aerosol products. 

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How to Keep My Hairspray Safe on a Plane?

One of the more frustrating elements of taking any liquid on a plane is the condition it’s in when you land. Aerosol cans and plastic containers tend to burst, making a huge mess in carry-on or checked baggage.

While this doesn’t always happen, occasionally, you may have a spray bottle under pressure pop a cap or a can spring a leak in the seal, especially in your checked baggage. 

Because of the temperature and pressure, there’s always a chance your hairspray aerosols will leak in your checked bag. It’s best to prepare for this situation by protecting each of your items before getting on the plane. 

Thus, here are a couple of travel tips to help you out: 

  • Purchase brand-new travel-sized items. New products are less likely to leak, and the safety features on new products are more likely to prevent accidental discharge. 
  • Double-check the cap on all toiletry-type aerosols before you pack. Make sure everything is nice and tight, even on items like suntan lotion. Consider taping them down if you worry they aren’t that secure. 
  • Keep your aerosols sealed with the original plastic until you land. If you do buy new products, resist the urge to remove the plastics on them until you’re off the plane. 
  • Wrap each item in plastic wrap before placing them in a clear, 1-quart plastic zip bag. Plastic wrap gives you an extra level of protection and can also keep seals from popping in your hand luggage or toiletries bag. 
  • Bag up full-sized items in your checked bags. If you find something leaked in your main luggage, this will be a saving grace. 
  • Wrap your toiletries bag in a scarf once through security to keep the temperature consistent. It may help keep it from getting too cold while in the air. Alternatively, you can nestle it between any clothing in the bag. 

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You can perfectly well take hairspray and other liquids on a plane. 

But, you have to follow regulations about packing liquids if you do bring hairspray on a plane. As long as you use the right-sized bottle and don’t exceed the allowed volume, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

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