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Can You Take Nail Polish with You On a Plane?

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Can you take nail polish on the plane? The answer is fortunately yes. However, due to nail varnish being a liquid and being treated as a hazardous item because it is potentially flammable, you must follow the TSA rules when traveling with nail polish. Below I’ll break down what are the TSA rules around nail polish bottles and best practices when traveling with your manicure kit.

Can you bring nail polish on the plane?

TSA Restrictions

Nail Polish is treated as liquid items by airport security. Because it also contains alcohol which makes it potentially flammable, it is treated as a hazardous item by the TSA(Transportation Security Administration).

1. Size

Carry-on Luggage- For carry-on hand luggage, you are only able to bring no more than 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 ml of liquid items at the security checkpoint. Fortunately, nail polish bottles are between 0.4-0.5 ml so this will not present an issue. It is also important to note that all toiletry items(which includes nail polish) must be put in a plastic quart-sized bag. As long as you do these things, you should have a smooth screening with the TSA officer.

Checked Bags- For checked luggage, the TSA regulations around liquid items are slightly different. You are able to bring no more than 2kg or 70 oz of liquid in your checked baggage. Note, that it isn’t required to put your liquid items in a resealable plastic bag for checked-in baggage. However, I recommend packing your liquid items in a clear plastic bag to avoid potential spills. Trust me, I’ve been here before.

Note: Because a nail polish bottle is in such a small amount of liquid, the risk of flammability is very low.

2. Quantity

As long as the amount of nail polish you bring is in line with the TSA regulations around liquids, then you should have no issue. However, the final decision rests with the TSA agents. It’s a good idea to limit how much nail polish you bring just to be on the safe side.

Are You Allowed to Bring These Nail Care Items?

Outside of nail polishes, there may be other essential items for nails that you might want to bring. Here are the TSA’s rules around these nail items

1. Can You Bring Nail Polish Remover

You can bring a nail polish remover bottle, but it would have to be no more than 100 ml for carry-on baggage or 2kg for checked baggage. However, here is a more travel-friendly option for nail polish remover. I recommend using a soy remover which is not flammable, and the ones in wipes which are super easy to travel with. Brands like Ella+Mila have nail polish remover wipes that don’t have much liquid. Using remover wipes is the best way to travel with remover for me.

Get Ella+Mila Wipes Here

2. Can You Bring Dip/Acrylic Powder

Dip powder and acrylic are considered powder-like substances by the TSA. It is okay to bring powder substances that are under 12oz or 350 ml in carry-on items. It’s best to carry a limited quantity of these types of powder in your luggage so you limit additional screenings.

3. Can You Bring a UV Lamp?

UV lights are sometimes allowed on board, but it’s best to check with your airline. Given that these lamps, are a bit of an investment, it’s better to leave them at home unless you are traveling for an extended period of time. The last thing you want is for your lamp to be thrown out before you board.

4. Can You Bring Nail Care Tools?

Nail Clippers- You are able to bring nail clippers in both carry-on and checked-in luggage with no problem because it’s not sharp enough to be used as a weapon.

Nail Files- You can bring a nail file in both a carry-on or checked-in luggage with no problem. However, this is an important thing to keep in mind. There are different types of nail files. Emery boards and glass nail files are fine. But metal nail files may need a sheath. Because it’s metal and may have a pointy end, you want to wrap it securely to prevent injury.

Here is a travel-friendly glass nail file that I recommend. Travel-Friendly Nail File

Note: I don’t recommend metal nail files for natural nails. These files are way too rough and can cause splitting. Find out more ways here to prevent nail splitting.

Cuticle Pushers- You can bring a cuticle pusher in both a carry-on or checked-in luggage with no problem. However, be careful with the pushers that are not double-sided. The ones where the pusher is on one end, but then there is a sharper end on the other need to be sheathed.

Note: Nail scissors and cuticle nippers may be on a case-by-case basis. Depending on how big and sharp they are, you may or may not be able to board the plane with these items.

Most nail products and tools are allowed on the plane. You just have to follow TSA regulations and ensure that nothing you bring could cause a potential safety risk.

Where Can I Get Some Travel-Friendly Nail Products?

When traveling, I recommend getting smaller nail items that are easier to pack. Below are a few that I recommend from Amazon.

Cuticle Oil Pen– These make traveling with nail oil super easy. The pens make applying oil quick and the sleek shape fits easily into your luggage. A brand that has great oil pens on Amazon is Bliss Kiss.

Get it Here on Amazon

Mini Nail Polish- You can get mini nail polish bottles from OPI. These usually come in packs and are super easy to carry.

Get it Here on Amazon

Glass Nail File in a Case- Glass nail files are my go-to, however, you don’t want your files to break so that is why I recommend getting one in a case. You can get it from Bona Fide Beauty on Amazon and it fits very easily into your bag.

Get it Here on Amazon


Can You Polish Your Nails on the Plane?

There is no formal policy that says you can not paint your nails on the plane, but it is something that I would not recommend that you do. Because you are sitting so close to others, the smell of nail polish can be very disruptive to other passengers. It’s best to be considerate of other travelers while on the plane.

Note: I recommend not doing any personal grooming in your plane seat:) Especially cutting/filing your nails:(

Can You Polish Your Nails in the Waiting Area

Once again, there is nothing saying you can not polish your nails in the waiting room. However, doing this can be disruptive to other passengers so I would not recommend it.

Can I Travel with Nail Polish Internationally?

You would need to check the regulations of the country you are entering. Generally, it is not a problem but I know having nail polish in your luggage is banned in China. This is because nail polish is considered to be a flammable liquid.


TSA Nail Polish

TSA Powders


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