Whether travelers are headed to a business conference, vacation, or any other getaway, understanding the federal regulations on travel size and hair products can help them be prepared for airport security while still maintaining a great style.
The federal guidelines for the size of hair products and other personal care items that may be brought on board an aircraft in carry on luggage are designed to minimize passengers' risks of exposure to harmful or dangerous chemicals that could pose threats to the safety of the aircraft. While these risks may seem far-fetched, they are very real concerns and travelers are required to comply with the regulations.
The current regulations state that all liquid, gel, and aerosol items must be in containers smaller than three ounces. Individual containers must be placed in a quart-size plastic zip bag that is to be removed from a carry on bag to be X-rayed separately at the security checkpoint. Each passenger is permitted only one quart-size bag.
Travelers should note that larger bottles and containers that may be only partially full are not permitted; the containers themselves must hold a quantity no greater than three ounces. While all items must fit in the quart-sized bag, passengers are welcome to bring multiple bottles of the same product so long as they all fit into that bag. Most airports have zip bags available at the security checkpoint for travelers who forget the regulations.
Note: These regulations are subject to change at any time based on perceived threats and updated precautions. Travelers should contact their airline for updated information, or check online at TSA.gov for the latest guidelines.
Finding Travel Size Products
Rigid security precautions can be hazardous to heavily styled hair that may require multiple products. Travelers should note, however, that there are no restrictions on the sizes of product bottles that are packed into checked baggage - the restrictions only apply to those items in carry on bags. Many travelers, however, prefer to avoid checked baggage whenever possible, and finding travel size products is critical to a stylish look.
Since these restrictions went into effect, more and more hair product manufacturers have been creating travel size bottles of their popular brands. Some hair products available in less than three ounce bottles include:
- Herbal Essences
- Head & Shoulders
- John Frieda
- Frederic Fekkai
Shampoos, conditioners, hair spray and more are frequently available in smaller bottles, allowing many travelers to use their favorite products no matter where they might go. Some travel sizes can be difficult to find, however, though most stores offer a travel size section in their health and beauty department. Online retailers also offer a wide range of items in a convenient size and hair products are no exception. To find small bottles, shop the following online retailers:
Making Your Own Travel Sizes
Some specialized hair products are not available in smaller bottles or travelers may prefer not to spend money on specialized packaging for expensive items. It is possible to make your own travel sizes by choosing a small bottle and filling it with your favorite product prior to your trip. Some stores, especially home stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things offer travel size kits that come with a range of different plastic bottles, labels, and a sturdy quart-size zip bag.
Working with Travel Size and Hair Product Shortages
The easiest way to abide by security restrictions is to limit hair product use so no more than a travel size bottle is necessary. There are several ways travelers can arrange this, such as:
- Choosing accommodations at their destination that provide personal care products so they do not need to bring any themselves
- Buy products once they have reached their destination, particularly for long trips or instances when several people can use the same products
- Carefully wash and style hair just before traveling to minimize the needed quantity of products
- Opt for easy care hair styles that require minimal styling products, such as pigtails, short bob hair styles, braids, or use head bands or other hair accessories
Traveling with minimal security risks poses a style risk to heavily coiffed hair when the words travel size and hair products just aren't compatible. Fortunately, there are many varieties of travel sizes to choose from and passengers can work around restrictions by choosing easy hair styles that are quick and comfortable for traveling. .