Anwering Readers’ Questions: Do lipsticks count as liquids?

In the comments to yesterday’s post, reader Nancy brought up a good question.

Are lipsticks and lip balm considered liquids? I always stick them into my ziplock bag, but never sure if I have to.

I have some excellent news for you, Nancy! According to the TSA blog, normal sized makeup does not have to be in the the liquids bag.

Common size facial cosmetic and medicinal products in a tube, for example mascara, lip gloss, and lip balm are not required to be placed in the 1 qt. bag.

I think this is very exciting. I prefer my lipstick to be in my purse at all times, not in my liquids bag which gets left at my hotel, leaving me without lipstick at the office should I forget to put it back in my purse….. Anyway, makeup is free to be wherever you want it.

I have a question though. The blog does not specifically state foundation though as being exempt from the liquids bag, as it does mascara and lipstick. However it is still definitely considered makeup. Anyone have any insight?



  1. Ooh, thank you for that update! One less thing to obsess about when traveling. :~) (Still leaves the hand sanitizer, hand cream, and contact lens rewetting drops; does mean if I ever decide to do carry-on, there’s more room in my ziplock though.) And here’s my dirty little secret — I have a teeny, tiny Swiss Army knife (minuscule blade, nail file, mini-scissor). In the good old days, it nestled under the lipsticks in my cosmetic bag and was never seen by the screeners. Now, it has nowhere to hide. On a trip last year I forgot to move it to my checked bag — it made it to Portland but got caught on the way back. Maybe its replacement can go back to hiding now that the lipsticks stay in the cosmetic bag.

  2. Lipstick is a solid, is it not? I never put these in my ziploc before…

    I don’t have any foundations that come in a tube – it sounds more applicable to similar delivery systems, ie concealer which is often packaged like a lip gloss.

    To Nancy, you don’t “have” to place contact lens rewetting drops in a ziploc bag but it seems like the easier thing to do. Per the TSA:
    “All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including lubricating jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes are permitted. You are not limited in the amount or volume of these items you may bring in your carry-on baggage. BUT if the medically necessary items exceed three ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you MUST declare to one of the security officers at the checkpoint for further inspection.”

  3. The blog describes “common size cosmetic products in a tube” which to me does not include foundation. It goes on to describe several things that are not liquids anyway. It seems pretty clear that foundation should still be in the plastic bag.

    I have heard it mentioned several times including (I think) by at least one TSA agent, that a liquid is anything that can spill or pour. I would include liquid foundation in this but not lipstick.

    FYI, I use Tarte gel blush, which is really not a gel at all but more of a solid, the consistency of solid deodorant, and I do not put it in the plastic bag.

  4. Anything that can be poured or change shape is considered gel/liquid. As well as anything that needs to be applied with a wand, applicator(or fingers), or spray, or roll on. (:

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