Does Mascara need to go in the Liquids bag?

Are you on the verge of a thrilling journey and are trying to pack your bags, yet you find yourself stumped by the rules of airport security?

Are you wondering, “Does my beloved mascara count as a liquid under TSA regulations?”

This is a puzzling question that has undoubtedly left many frequent flyers scratching their heads.

Your understanding of this subject could be the deciding factor between a smooth, hassle-free security check or an unfortunate situation where your mascara is taken away.

Related: Can You Bring Nail Polish Remover on a Plane? 

According to TSA regulations, you’re allowed to pack your mascara in your checked luggage without any constraints.

However, if you’re planning on packing it in your carry-on bag, the mascara tube must not exceed 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).

Therefore, it turns out that yes, your mascara must be included in the liquids bag if you wish to bring it in your carry-on. 

What other toiletries are considered liquids by the TSA?

Understanding this can help you pack more efficiently and avoid any hiccups during the security screening.

Related: Can you fly with shaving cream?

Here’s a list of some common toiletries and other items that the TSA classifies as liquids:

  1. Toothpaste: That’s right, your everyday toothpaste is indeed considered a liquid.
  2. Shaving foam/gel: Whether it’s foam or gel, your shaving products need to comply with the liquid guidelines.
  3. Gel lip balms: Even though it’s not liquid in the traditional sense, TSA categorizes gel lip balms as such.
  4. Cream or gel eye shadow: Makeup products that have a creamy or gel-like consistency, such as certain eye shadows, fall under the liquid category.
  5. Preserves and jellies: They may be delicious on toast, but remember, they’re also counted as liquids.
  6. Aerosols: Anything from your hairspray to your deodorant aerosol can needs to follow the liquid rules.
  7. Frozen liquids: Even if you freeze your liquids, they are still considered liquids. So, no sneaking in that giant bottle of frozen water!
  8. Glow sticks: Surprising as it might be, glow sticks are classified as liquids too.

So, when you’re packing your carry-on, remember that all these items must adhere to the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule: liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag is permitted per passenger. 

Domestic vs. International Flights

Whether you’re planning a trip across the state or across the globe, it’s important to know how different cultural norms might impact your makeup routine.

Mascara is widely available in countries like the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and many others worldwide.

Related: Can you take body spray on a plane?

However, in some places where makeup isn’t as culturally significant, it might be a bit more challenging to find.

For instance, in China, there’s a greater emphasis on skincare products like face creams. Similarly, in Southern Europe and Scandinavia, you might not often see women sporting noticeable makeup at work or during the day in general.

Regardless of these cultural variations, it’s crucial to remember the TSA rules when you’re preparing to take flight.

Whether you’re flying within the USA or heading out on an international adventure, the same TSA guidelines apply.

You can pack mascara in your carry-on bag, but remember, the container must not exceed 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).

When it comes to checked luggage, you’re free to pack as much mascara as you need

When was mascara invented?

Anthropologists posit that the earliest examples of face and body painting were likely devised as a protective measure against harsh weather, a means of camouflage, or integral to ceremonial practices.

Indeed, body paint also served to affirm tribal loyalty and to intimidate adversaries – a compelling example being the ancient Britons, who adorned their faces with a blue dye derived from woad plant leaves in preparation for combat.

As civilizations evolved, decorative face painting came to signify beauty, social standing, and the maintenance of youth, eventually becoming inextricably tied to fashion trends from the 18th century onwards.

The cosmetic product we know and love as mascara didn’t emerge until the 19th century. Around the year 1880, a chemist by the name of Eugène Rimmel conceived a novel cosmetic formulation from a petroleum derivative, petroleum jelly.

The product, dubbed ‘Rimmel,’ soon became so closely associated with the cosmetic substance itself that the name is still used as a term for ‘mascara’ in Italian, reflecting the lasting impact of Rimmel’s innovation on the world of beauty.

If you want to know more about the history of the mascara you can find a good article here. 


Now you know that your favorite makeup accessory does indeed count as a liquid under airport security guidelines. When packing for your next flight, remember to adhere to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule if you plan to include your mascara in your carry-on.

The same rule applies to other toiletries, even those you might not immediately consider as liquids, such as toothpaste, shaving foam, gel lip balms, and cream or gel eyeshadows.

Interestingly, mascara and the art of face painting have a rich history that dates back to the ancient times, long before it was known by its current name.

As you prepare for your next journey, whether it’s a short domestic flight or an international adventure, remember that while cultural norms and makeup practices may vary around the globe, TSA guidelines remain constant.

Happy travels!

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.