Can I still bring makeup on flights? Everything to know about the new luggage rules.

From this Saturday, we’ve all got one more thing to think about when we’re catching a plane.

For anyone departing from international terminals in Australia, new restrictions will apply to powders in carry-on baggage.

That could include your makeup, talcum powder and salt scrubs. Oh, and your collection of snow domes.

What powders are being restricted?

The good news is that some types of powder aren’t being restricted at all. You can take as much powdered baby formula in your carry-on baggage as you like. Protein powder is also fine, along with powdered food such as coffee and spices. Basically, anything classified as an “organic” powder (that is, derived from living matter) is okay. That includes most cosmetics.

The restrictions apply to “inorganic” powders. So that’s salt and salt scrubs, as well as some talcum powders, powdered deodorants and foot powders. Sand is also restricted, and that includes sand in toys and souvenirs, plus anything else containing granular material, such as snow domes.

Medicines are exempt from restrictions, but if you’re carrying more than the limit, make sure you have some kind of written proof that you need them on a flight (eg, a prescription or a doctor’s letter). Cremated human remains are also exempt. So if you want to keep a relative’s ashes with you on a flight, that’s fine.

How do I know whether my cosmetics, talcum powder, etc, are organic or inorganic?

“Toiletries and makeup generally consist of a number of ingredients and it can be difficult to determine from a product label whether a product contains inorganic ingredients,” a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs tells Mamamia. “Airport staff will use X-ray technology to determine whether a powder is organic or inorganic.”

When you reach the screening point at the airport, you need to be have all the powders in your carry-on baggage separate and ready for inspection.


How much of the restricted powder can I have in my carry-on baggage?

It’s limited to containers of no more than 350ml/350g in total per person. Keep in mind that it’s container volume that’s restricted, not the amount of powder in a container. So you can’t just tip powder out to bring yourself under the limit.

But the container volume is actually a fairly large amount when it comes to makeup.

“Some types of makeup contain inorganic ingredients, but it would be rare for individual containers to exceed 350ml (or 350g),” the department spokesperson says.

But if I have a large amount of really expensive powdered makeup…

Just stick it all in your check-in baggage.

And it’s just international flights, right?

It’s anyone departing from an Australian international terminal. So if you happen to be on the domestic leg of an international flight – say, from Melbourne to Sydney – and you’re departing from an international terminal, the restrictions also apply to you.

Why powder? Why now?

The US is also cracking down on powders on international flights. A CNN report says the new restrictions were sparked off by a foiled plot to blow up a plane in Australia last year.

According to the Australian Federal Police, the would-be attackers were planning to place an improvised explosive device on an Etihad Airways flight on July 15. However, they say the device didn’t get past the airline check-in.

An official from the Transportation Security Administration says that even before the “Australia plot” they were worried about improvised explosive devices containing powder explosives.

And we’ll happily say that when it comes to prioritising safety versus our favourite pressed powdered makeup, it’s safety first.