Can You Take Nail Polish on a Plane?



Many women (and some men) are very fastidious when it comes to how their nails look, spending many hours in nail salons to make sure they look their best.

So it isn’t a surprise that when going on a trip they want to know if they can take essential items like nail polish with them in either their carry on or checked baggage.

So there is no need to worry as you will be able to paint your nails so your hands look glamourous while you are away on your trip.

Can You Bring Nail Polish on a Plane

The Quick Answer: Can you take nail polish on a plane? Nail polish is permitted on a plane in your carry on provided the bottle it is contained in is no larger than 3.4 oz/100 ml (which is unlikely as most nail polish bottles are only 15 ml or less). It must be placed in a one-quart transparent resealable bag with your other liquids. Nail polish can be packed in your checked baggage without restriction.


Can you take nail polish through airport security

There are no TSA rules that prevent taking nail polish through a security checkpoint at the airport apart from the size of the bottle that the nail polish is contained in.

Since it is a liquid, nail polish must be in a bottle no larger than 3.4 oz/100 ml.

It must be taken out of your carry on bag and placed in a resealable see-through quart-sized bag along with your other liquid items (including liquid makeup) and placed in a separate tray for screening when passing through the airport security checkpoint.

As with everything, the final decision rests with the TSA officer and other security personnel as to what is and what is not allowed through the security checkpoint.

This is an example response on Twitter from the TSA to a passenger’s question can I bring nail polish on a plane (in a very strange pointy bottle):

Can you take nail polish through airport security

Clearly, you cannot get around the TSA’s liquids in a quart-sized bag rule as this passenger discovered when she asked if her nail polish in a box needed to go in a clear plastic bag:

TSA liquids rule

Can you take nail polish in your carry on?

As stated above the only restriction on taking nail polish through a security checkpoint at the airport is the size of the bottle which must be no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.

However, if there are stores at the airport after the security checkpoint that sell nail polish you can purchase more there and carry it with you onto the flight in your hand luggage.

Can you paint your nails during the flight?

I have checked with a number of airlines and can find none that specifically state that you cannot paint your nails with nail polish during a flight (or that you are permitted to either).

However, the general consensus seems to be that you shouldn’t use nail polish while onboard as most have a rather strong smell so it would be inconsiderate to your fellow passengers to paint your nails.

Personally, I do not find the smell unpleasant (mostly acetone I understand) but others may disagree, of course, particularly any who may have some form of respiratory problems.

On occasions, I have actually seen other passengers giving themselves a manicure during the flight, including applying nail polish. I think some find the whole operation quite therapeutic.

Can I bring nail polish in checked baggage?

You can pack nail polish in your checked baggage without restriction so it is perhaps the best place to travel with it anyway, assuming you are not flying with carry on luggage only of course.

Obviously, if you chip your nail polish during the flight you won’t have access to it to repaint the nail until you get to your destination but then that is frowned upon as being antisocial.

Can you take nail polish remover on a plane?

If you are taking nail polish on a plane with you then it is likely that you will also want to take nail polish remover too.

Both nail polish remover and nail glue can be taken through airport security and onto a plane in your cabin luggage, subject to the same 3.4oz/100ml liquids rule per item as the nail polish.

Nail polish remover can be packed in checked luggage provided it is in a container no larger than 18 ounces.

This passenger asked about their nail polish remover and particularly specified that it was marked as being flammable on the label. Clearly, the TSA does not have a problem with that:

Can you take nail polish remover on a plane

You can also take other nail care related items such as nail clippers, nail files and small nail scissors in your hand luggage as well.

All of these items can also be packed in your checked bags without any restrictions as the TSA rules are much less strict for checked luggage than for what can be taken through security.

How much nail polish can you take on a plane?

In your carry on baggage you are restricted by the number of bottles of nail polish that you could physically fit into a quart-sized liquids bag when you pass through the TSA checkpoint.

After passing through security, in theory, you could fill your cabin bag with nail polish purchased from a store at the airport and take that on board the airplane.

In your checked bags you will be able to pack as many bottles as you may need for your trip, even if you like to change your nail color every day or even more often.


You should have no problems taking nail polish with you when traveling in your carry on bag or manicure kit along with your nail varnish, size allowing and you can pack any size in your checked bag.

Have a good and stress-free flight.

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