I am a firm believer in traveling “carry-on only,” and usually can finagle all the clothes and accessories I need into my suitcase … and still kind of over pack, if we’re being completely honest. However, the TSA’s 3-1-1- rule and figuring out how to pack liquid toiletries and makeup in one quart size bag? Well, that’s just being difficult, TSA.
The gist of the rule is this: any liquids, gels, or aerosoles in carry-on luggage have to be 3.4 ounces or less and fit in one clear quart-size bag, one bag per passenger. You don’t realize how many liquids, gels and sprays you use on a daily basis (fun fact: mascara is a liquid in the eyes of the TSA!) until you have to shrink them all down and fit them into one little plastic baggie.
I’m no liquid carry on packing expert, but I’ve figured a few things out about this process.
First, invest in a decent TSA approved, quart-size bag. It’s amazing how much more you can fit into a quality clear toiletry pouch as opposed to a ziploc baggie. Mine is from Target, but I’ve heard great things about Flight 001 and Truffle Clarity, as well.
Second, search for solid alternatives to some of your daily products (think LUSH shampoo bars and solid deodorant if you’re usually a gel person). You may even consider purchasing things at your destination, if possible, like contact solution, toothpaste and more. If you’re staying in a hotel, they’ll often have items like toothpaste and razors at the front desk for forgetful travelers — just call and ask!
I’m also a huge fan of those little sample pouches you get at places like Sephora, Kiehl’s and Nordstrom beauty counters. If you’re flying soon, ask for samples of some of your favorite products, or ones you want to try! A Kiehl’s sales associate taught me a handy trick to keep them fresh longer, too: puncture the pouches with a needle or pin as opposed to tearing open, and squeeze out product that way.
Finally, how you pack matters just as much as what you pack. It’s basically toiletry Tetris. Start with all the big stuff first, like in the below photo:
Then, you can slide in smaller items and your sample pouches around everything else. I like to keep things like lip balm and facial moisturizers handy for in-flight use, if possible:
And that’s it! Those are my big secrets to shoving as many liquid, gel and aerosole beauty products into one quart-size bag and humanly possible. Here’s what I’m traveling with, if you’re interested:
- Clear Quart Size Travel Bag
- Elizabeth and James Nirvana White Rollerball
- Crest 3D White Toothpaste (travel size)
- Fresh Rose Face Mask (sample, for plane)
- Origins GinZing Eye Cream and Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Treatments (samples)
- Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial (Sephora 100-point perk sample)
- Tarte BB Cream
- Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer (love this primer set for travel!)
- YSL Touche Eclat
- Klorane Dry Shampoo (1 oz size)
- Glamglow Thirstymud Treatment (0.5 oz size, for plane)
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (samples)
- Smith’s Rosebud Salve (best thing ever)
- Lancome Bi-Facil Makeup Remover (snagged this as a Sephora 100-point perk as well!)
- The Estee Edit Dissolve the Drama cleanser (another Sephora 100-point perk)
- Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil
- Oribe Superfine Hairspray (I usually use R+Co, which does come in travel size, but I didn’t order it online in time)
- Compaigne de Provence shower gel (from the Travel Essentials box)
- Aesop Rind Concentrate Body Balm (sample)
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
- Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
- Lancome Cils Booster XL Eyelash Primer
- Mascara: I like to layer Diorshow and L’Oreal Voluminous
Yep…it all fits! I’m going to have to buy contact solution at my destination, though. Something had to go.