Can You Bring Shampoo On A Plane In Carry On Luggage?

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Flying with shampoo in carry on luggage is pretty simple.

But you need to have the right size of bottle and you need to pack it in the right place.

Let’s take a look at what’s permitted in the United States.

TSA Shampoo Rules

The Transportation Security Administration display this notice about shampoo on their website.

It’s a start, but it’s not the full story about taking shampoo in airplanes.

And they have this about conditioner.

How Much Shampoo Can You Bring On A Plane?

In these notices the TSA is making the assumption that the shampoo in question is a liquid or a gel.

Liquids & gels are restricted in carry on bags.

You can bring liquid shampoo in your carry-on luggage in bottles that are less than 3.4 oz (100 ml).

That doesn’t mean that you can’t bring more than 3.4 oz.

You can bring as many 3.4 oz bottles as you can fit in your one quart-size plastic bag. That might be 7 or 8 little travel-size bottles if you only packed shampoo!

But, of course, you will probably have other liquid toiletries that you want to bring with you. It can be a challenge to fit all the liquids that you want to bring in your toiletries bag.

For this reason, some travelers choose to bring checked bags. You can bring as much shampoo as you like in checked luggage, but you might need to pay a fee to bring checked baggage.

Airport Shampoo Economics 101

Travel shampoo bottles can be expensive.

For example, this TRESemme travel-size shampoo works out to be about 3x more expensive per ounce than buying larger bottles.

A 3 oz travel size shampoo contains about 9 washes for most women with long hair. So think about the duration of your trip to calculate if that will be enough shampoo for you.

If you wanted to save some money you could buy refillable travel-size bottles and fill them with shampoo from a larger bottle.

Remember the TSA shampoo limit only applies to getting it through the airport security checkpoint.

Once you are past the checkpoint you can buy larger bottles of shampoo from stores in the airport and you can then pack those in your carry-on or personal item.

As April says, airport shampoo will be more expensive than buying at the supermarket, but it will be cheaper than the fee for a checked bag.

The third option I wanted to mention for traveling with shampoo is solid shampoo bars.

The limitations mentioned above only apply to liquid shampoo.

If you pack a solid bar of shampoo you don’t need to put it in your plastic quart-bag. Here’s the TSA on Twitter confirming that solid shampoo is allowed in your carry-on bag without restriction:

So if space is a little tight you might want to consider a product like this:

That’s just an example. There are many different types of solid shampoo and conditioner bars that you can pack freely in carry-on or checked luggage. Ethique makes a range of flavors for different hair types and scalp conditions.

If you go down the road of packing shampoo bars you might want to consider a travel soap case to stop your bar of shampoo from becoming mushy.

In Short

You can bring shampoo on an airplane in carry-on bags or checked bags. If you pack it in hand luggage it must be in bottles smaller than 3.4 oz and be packed in your toiletries bag.

If travel-size shampoo seems expensive then refill some small bottles.

If you need to take more shampoo than the 3.4 ounces limit then you could buy some in a store at the airport after the security checkpoint.

Lastly, solid shampoo is a great alternative to liquid shampoo for carry-on only travelers.

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