Can You Bring Hair Gel On A Plane?

Bringing personal care items on planes has been a subject of scrutiny ever since concerns over airplane security intensified in the early 21st century. Hair gel, as a common grooming product, is often a must-have item for travelers wanting to maintain their appearance while away from home. The regulations surrounding the transportation of liquids and gels were significantly tightened following the thwarted 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, which revealed the potential for liquid explosives to be used in terrorist attacks.

In response to these security threats, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States, alongside international security agencies, implemented strict rules regarding the carriage of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes on aircraft. These measures were aimed at minimizing the risk of concealed explosives being brought into the aircraft cabin. Therefore, hair gel, along with other similar substances, falls under a category that requires special attention when packing carry-on and checked luggage for air travel.

Today, these regulations have a significant impact on how travelers pack their toiletries and personal care items for flight. Specific guidelines dictate the maximum volume for containers of hair gel that passengers can take in their carry-on bags, as well as the way these containers should be packed. Regulations may vary slightly by country but generally follow the globally recognized standard for liquid restrictions. Adherence to these guidelines ensures that passengers can bring their necessities, including hair gels, while also contributing to the collective security of air travel.

can you bring hair gel on a plane

Table of Contents

Can You Take Hair Gel On A Plane?

When traveling by air, you may wonder if you can take hair gel with you on the plane. The answer is yes, but there are restrictions you need to be aware of. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), hair gel is considered a liquid and is therefore subject to the 3-1-1 liquids rule. This means you can take hair gel in your carry-on luggage as long as it is in a container that holds 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, and it fits comfortably within a single, quart-sized, clear, zip-top plastic bag along with your other liquids. If you need to take more than what is allowed in your carry-on, you can place larger bottles in your checked baggage. Understanding these guidelines will ensure that you can maintain your hair care routine while traveling. For a more detailed explanation of how to pack your hair gel and other toiletries, continue to the next section where we delve into the specifics of navigating airport security with personal care items.

Regulations for Carrying Hair Gel on USA Domestic Flights

Taking hair gel along on a domestic flight in the United States requires adherence to specific rules mandated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA sets guidelines for liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes that travelers must follow to pass through airport security checkpoints without issues.

TSA 3-1-1 Liquids Rule

The TSA 3-1-1 rule is crucial for passengers carrying hair gel in their carry-on luggage. This rule stipulates that all liquids and gels must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Here is a quick breakdown of the 3-1-1 rule:

  • 3 – Liquid or gel must be in a container that holds 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters or less.
  • 1 – All containers must fit in a single, clear, quart-sized, plastic, zip-top bag.
  • 1 – Each passenger is allowed one plastic bag, which must be presented separately at the security checkpoint.

Packing Hair Gel in Checked Luggage

For those choosing to pack hair gel in checked baggage, there are fewer restrictions regarding the quantity. Passengers can pack larger containers that would not comply with the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage. However, it is wise to securely package these items to prevent leaks that could damage other items in the luggage.

Exemptions and Special Circumstances

There are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule regarding medical necessities and infant care products. These items might include hair gels and similar products required for medical purposes. Passengers should declare these items to TSA officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

TSA PreCheck and Hair Gel

TSA PreCheck members follow the same liquid rules as other travelers. Membership in this program does not exempt passengers from adhering to TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule, so even PreCheck passengers must ensure their hair gel complies with the standard regulations.

Tips for Traveling with Hair Gel

  • Purchase travel-sized containers if your favorite hair gel doesn’t come in a TSA-compliant size.
  • Place the plastic bag containing your hair gel in an easily accessible spot within your carry-on for quick removal during security screening.
  • Consider solid or powder alternatives to hair gel, which are not subject to the 3-1-1 rule, for hassle-free travel.

For the most current regulations and updates related to carrying hair gel on domestic flights, travelers should refer to the official TSA website dedicated to understanding the 3-1-1 rule: TSA Liquids Rule.

✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Maintains your hair style during travel Liquid restrictions apply (100ml/3.4 ounces or less per container)
Useful for long flights or layovers Must fit within a single clear, plastic, resealable quart-sized bag
Convenient for immediate use upon arrival Excess amounts need to be checked in, risking potential spillage in your luggage
Can be purchased in travel-sized bottles that comply with regulations Can be confiscated if not compliant with security regulations

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

When flying internationally with hair gel, it’s essential to be aware of the guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These regulations are designed to ensure safety and security on flights and are generally adopted by airlines worldwide. According to IATA, passengers are allowed to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in their carry-on luggage with some restrictions:

  • Liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) each.
  • All containers must fit comfortably in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag of a maximum capacity not exceeding one liter (approximately one quart).
  • Each passenger is allowed one such plastic bag, which must be presented separately from other carry-on baggage at the security checkpoint.

For more detailed information, refer to the IATA guidelines on the IATA website.

Country Specific Regulations

While the IATA provides general guidelines, it’s crucial to understand that individual countries may have specific regulations regarding the transport of hair gel and other similar items. These rules can vary and may be subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the latest information before traveling.

United Kingdom

The UK follows the standard liquid rules for air travel. Hair gel is subject to the 100 ml rule and must be placed in a transparent, resealable bag. For more details, visit the UK government website.


European Union countries also adhere to the 100 ml liquid rule. More information can be found on the European Commission website.


Transport Canada specifies that travelers can carry hair gel in containers up to 100 ml. Visit the Transport Canada website for further guidance.


The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs limits liquids, including hair gel, to 100 ml per container. More details are available on the Home Affairs website.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority also follows the 100 ml rule for liquids. Guidelines can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website.


Asian countries may have varying regulations, so it’s important to check with the specific country’s civil aviation authority for the most current rules.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore adheres to the standard 100 ml rule for liquids in carry-on luggage. Further information can be found on the CAAS website.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Hair Gel

Different airlines may have their own specific policies when it comes to flying with hair gel, even though most align with IATA guidelines. It’s always a good practice to check with the airline you’re flying with for any additional restrictions or allowances.

American Airlines

American Airlines follows the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule, which aligns with IATA guidelines. For more information, visit the American Airlines website.

Delta Air Lines

Delta also complies with the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids. Specific details can be found on the Delta Air Lines website.

United Airlines

United Airlines permits travel with hair gel under the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Visit the United Airlines website for further details.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines passengers must adhere to the TSA liquid regulations. More information is available on the Southwest Airlines website.

British Airways

British Airways follows the UK’s Department for Transport rules for liquids. Guidelines can be found on the British Airways website.


Lufthansa complies with the European Union’s liquid restrictions. Visit the Lufthansa website for more information.

Air Canada

Air Canada follows Transport Canada’s regulations for liquids in carry-on luggage. Specifics can be found on the Air Canada website.


Qantas adheres to the Australian Government’s security regulations for liquids. Details are available on the Qantas website.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand follows the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority’s guidelines for liquids. More information can be found on the Air New Zealand website.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines complies with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s regulations for liquids. Visit the Singapore Airlines website for further guidance.

Understanding TSA Liquid Rules for Carry-On Luggage

Before you pack hair gel in your carry-on luggage, it’s important to be familiar with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) liquids rule. The TSA follows the 3-1-1 rule which stands for 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per container, 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag, 1 bag per passenger. Ensure your hair gel container does not exceed these size restrictions.

Packing Hair Gel in Carry-On Luggage

  • Choose the Right Container: If your hair gel does not come in a travel-sized container under 3.4 ounces, transfer the necessary amount into a travel-sized bottle that meets TSA requirements.
  • Seal it Well: Ensure that the lid of the hair gel container is tightly sealed to prevent any leakage.
  • Place in a Clear Bag: Put the hair gel container into a clear, quart-sized, zip-top plastic bag along with your other liquids, creams, and gels.
  • Easy Access: Store the plastic bag in an easily accessible place in your carry-on so that you can readily show it to TSA agents at the security checkpoint.

taking hair gel through airport security

Packing Hair Gel in Hold Luggage

  • No TSA Liquid Limit: There is no size limit for liquids in checked baggage, but it is recommended to check with your airline for any specific restrictions.
  • Prevent Leaks: It’s still crucial to prevent leaks by ensuring the hair gel container is securely sealed. A secondary layer of protection, such as wrapping the container in a plastic bag or using a leak-proof travel bottle, is also advisable.
  • Protect Your Clothes: For added security, pack the hair gel amongst soft items of clothing to cushion any potential impact.
  • Follow Airline Regulations: Always follow any specific packing regulations provided by your airline to avoid any potentially expensive or time-consuming setbacks.

Tips for Packing Hair Gel in Any Luggage

  • Be Mindful of Weight: While hold luggage allows for larger containers, keep in mind the weight restrictions to avoid additional charges.
  • Label Your Bottles: If you are transferring hair gel into different containers, label them clearly to easily identify the contents and avoid mixing up products.
  • Consider Solid Alternatives: If you want to avoid the hassle of liquid rules altogether, consider using a solid hair gel or pomade which is not subject to TSA’s liquid restrictions.

Travel-Friendly Hair Styling Products

In addition to hair gel, there are several other hair styling items that are convenient for air travel. Travel-sized hair sprays offer a quick fix for holding your hairstyle in place and are available in bottles small enough to meet carry-on liquid restrictions. Hair mousse, in miniature canisters, can provide your locks with volume and hold without the weight of gel. For those who prefer a more natural look, travel-sized pomades or wax sticks are perfect for adding texture and taming flyaways. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for refreshing your hair between washes and comes in compact aerosol or powder forms. Lastly, don’t forget a small bottle of leave-in conditioner to keep your hair hydrated and manageable throughout your journey. All these items should be 100 ml (3.4 ounces) or less to comply with TSA regulations for carry-on luggage.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Hair Gel On A Plane?

Traveling by plane comes with a set of restrictions, especially regarding what you can take with you on board. Items like hair gel often raise questions since they’re subject to security rules due to their consistency. Understanding the regulations can help you pack properly and avoid any issues at the security checkpoint. Here are frequently asked questions to assist in planning your trip with hair gel in your luggage.

Can I bring hair gel in my carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can bring hair gel in your carry-on luggage, but it must adhere to the liquids rule, typically limited to containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, all of which must fit in a single quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag.

Is hair gel subject to the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule?

Yes, hair gel is considered a liquid and is subject to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for carrying liquids in your carry-on baggage.

Can I bring large containers of hair gel in my checked baggage?

Yes, you can pack larger containers of hair gel in your checked baggage with no quantity restrictions, though it’s always advisable to pack them in plastic bags to prevent leaks.

What should I do if my hair gel is over the allowed limit for carry-on?

If your hair gel exceeds the 3.4-ounce limit, you must either pack it in your checked luggage or leave it behind, as it will not be allowed through the security checkpoint in your carry-on.

Do all airports enforce the same rules for hair gel in carry-on bags?

Most airports follow similar guidelines, particularly if they adhere to TSA or other countries’ equivalent security agencies. However, rules can vary by country, so double-check any local regulations when traveling internationally.

Are there exceptions to the liquid rule for hair gel?

Exceptions to the liquid rule are typically made for medications and infant or child nourishment. Hair gel doesn’t usually fall under any exception category for personal care products.

How can I make sure my hair gel stays within permitted limits while flying?

To ensure your hair gel complies with flying restrictions, either purchase travel-sized containers that are within the 3.4-ounce limit or transfer a suitable amount from a larger container to a smaller, travel-friendly one.

Can professional hair stylists bring larger quantities of hair gel on a plane for work?

Professional hair stylists are still subject to the same regulations for carry-on luggage but may be able to pack larger quantities in their checked luggage, depending on airline policies and potential hazardous material restrictions.

Will I need to remove my hair gel from my carry-on bag during security screening?

Yes, you will need to remove the quart-sized bag containing your hair gel and other liquids from your carry-on for separate screening at the security checkpoint.

What if my hair gel is considered a gel ice pack for medical purposes?

If your hair gel doubles as a gel ice pack required for medical purposes, you may be allowed to exceed the 3.4-ounce limit, but you should declare it at the checkpoint and be prepared to show a doctor’s note or medical ID.

Packing It All Up

In conclusion, travelers can indeed bring hair gel onto an airplane, but they must adhere to the regulations set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). For carry-on luggage, hair gel is subject to the 3-1-1 liquid rule, meaning it must be in a container that is 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, and all containers must fit into a single, clear, quart-sized bag. Each passenger is allowed one such bag, ensuring that the quantity of gels, liquids, aerosols, creams, and pastes is limited for security reasons. Being compliant with these rules will help passengers avoid delays during security checks and ensure a smoother boarding process.

For those who need to take larger quantities of hair gel, placing it in checked baggage is the solution. There are no limits to the amount of hair gel you can pack in checked luggage, making it an ideal option for travelers who are not as constrained by size limitations and do not require immediate access to their hair products during the flight. The key takeaway is to be well-prepared: familiarize yourself with TSA guidelines, pack appropriately whether you’re carrying on or checking your luggage, and streamline your travel experience. By following these simple steps, you can bring your hair care essentials along for the journey, ensuring that your hair remains styled to your preference wherever you go.