Can You Take Nail Polish on a Plane? 2024 Guide

(Last Updated On: December 22, 2023)

Can you take nail polish on a plane?  If this question is on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll answer all the questions you may have. Here are the dos and don’ts of packing nail polish on an airplane.


The TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule for Carry on Luggage

can you bring nail polish on a plane, TSA nail polish rules

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented a 3-1-1 rule for carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols.

Basically, you can bring liquids in your carry on luggage but each liquid much be less than 2.4 Oz or 100ml and placed in a clear quart sized plastic bag (usually supplied at the airport).

Each passenger can only take 1 quart size bag.

  • 3: 3.4 ounces (100 ml) bottle or less (by volume)
  • 1: 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
  • 1: One bag per passenger

Nearly all nail polish bottles contains 3.4 ounces or less, it can be placed in your quart-sized bag alongside your other liquid cosmetics and toiletries. 

My Advice: You should only really be travelling with nail varnish in hand luggage if you are travelling with hand luggage only. If you do travel with nail polish in your hand luggage, never open the nail varnish because it can cause a big smell for other passengers. Never paint your nails on the plane either!


What About Nail Polish in Checked Luggage?

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Nail polish in airplane checked luggage is generally allowed. 

However, bear in mind that nail polishes can be considered flammable liquids. Most airlines, don’t have a formal policy against them, but it’s best to check with your airline’s restrictions before packing.

The FAA limits the total amount of restricted medicinal and toiletry articles in checked baggage. This includes nail polish.

The total quantity per person cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces).

The capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).


Duty Free Nail Polsih on a Plane

duty free

When carried onboard, duty free nail polish bottles are typically sealed in tamper-evident bags, signifying their post-security purchase.

While the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule restricts most liquids in carry-ons to 3.4 ounces, duty-free exceptions exist.

However, if you’re on a connecting flight, especially international, regulations may vary.

It’s wise to keep the duty-free receipt and consider potential breakage, as nail polish bottles can be fragile.


Don’t Forget Your Manicure Kit

While you’re packing your nail polish, you might also consider bringing along nail clippers, nail files, and cuticle pushers.

Remember, sharp objects like nail files might raise eyebrows at the security checkpoint, so it’s best to pack these in checked luggage.

Sharp edges on nail clippers are generally not an issue, but safety razors, straight razors, and pocket knives are a no-go in carry-on luggage.


The TSA Liquid Limit

The total aggregate quantity of such items you can carry is limited by TSA regulations. Each passenger can bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes through the checkpoint.

These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item.

So, if you plan on bringing a variety of nail polishes or nail varnish bottles, ensure they fit within the TSA liquid limit.


What About Nail Polish Remover?

The same rules apply for nail polish remover. If it’s in gel form or liquid form, it should adhere to the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule. This means the bottle can’t be over 100ml in size. I always bring nail polish remover wipes when I’m travelling!

However, it’s essential to be aware of the flammable nature of many nail polish removers. It’s always a good idea to check with the specific airline.


Tips for Traveling with Nail Polish

  • Safety First: Keep nail polish bottles away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, which can affect the consistency of the polish.
  • Secure Packing: Wrap your nail polish bottles in bubble wrap or a cloth to prevent breakage. Place them in a resealable bag to prevent any spillage.
  • Check Airline Policies: While TSA guidelines are standardized, airlines like American Airlines may have specific policies, especially for international flights.

FAQs: Can you take nail polish on a plane

Can you bring nail polish on a plane American Airlines?

Yes, American Airlines, like many other airlines, adheres to TSA rules, so you can bring nail polish in both carry-on and checked luggage as long as it follows the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

Does nail polish go through airport security?

Yes, nail polish can go through airport security. However, like other liquids, it is subject to the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule. Ensure your nail polish bottles are less than 3.4 ounces (100ml) and placed in a clear, quart-sized, zip-top bag.

Can you take nail polish on a plane UK?

In the UK, similar to the TSA in the US, nail polish is subject to liquid restrictions. This means that any nail polish bottle must be 100ml or less and fit comfortably in a 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bag, which is sealed. Each passenger is allowed one such bag.

Why can’t you use nail polish on a plane?

Applying nail polish on a plane is discouraged primarily due to the strong fumes and odour it emits, which might be disturbing to fellow passengers in the confined space of an airplane. Additionally, potential spills can damage the aircraft’s interior or a fellow passenger’s belongings.

Is it rude to file your nails on a plane?

Yes, many consider it rude and inconsiderate to file nails on a plane. The act can distribute nail dust in the air and onto fellow passengers. Additionally, the noise and potential for dropped nail clippings can be disturbing in such close quarters.

Can you take nail polish in carry-on Ryanair?

Yes, you can take nail polish in your carry-on on Ryanair flights. However, it must adhere to the airline’s liquid restrictions. Ensure the bottle is 100ml or less and placed in a clear, resealable plastic bag. Always check Ryanair’s current guidelines before flying.


More Packing Rules to Consider

Can you bring a water bottle on a plane?

Can you bring a hydro flask on a plane?

Bringing Cologne on a Plane

Bringing Hair Gel on a Plane

Can you bring tea bags on a plane?

Can you bring a Bluetooth speaker on a plane?

Can you bring dry shampoo on a plane?


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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.