TSA possible substitutions

EDIT: you can now carry on small amount of liquids but I still like keeping this list around should that change back to no liquids at some point in the future.

Many of you have probably heard by now about the banned liquids for carry-ons.

I made a comment on Travel Commons about trying to compile a list of possible substitutes for those who don’t want to wait on checked baggage and also don’t want to spend a fortune on replacing their personal items at each destination.

I also want to note that I have heard of people at this point having their saline solution thrown in the trash so even though it’s one of the “acceptable” items you probably aren’t going to get away with carrying it on.

TSA’s website does leave a few loopholes that allow the final decision about your items to be made by the Screener:
“Some solid or powdered cosmetics items are permitted past the checkpoint; however, this is left to the discretion of the Security Officer. To minimize delays and hassle, we recommend that you pack all cosmetics in your checked baggage.”

Please note – these are POSSIBLE solutions and I have not tried these. If anyone has any feedback about their actual experiences with what works and what doesn’t, please please comment.

Deodorants made of gel or aerosol**
Regular Stick deodorant or crystal deodorant:

  • Too many to list in the stick deodorant category
    Groceries and Drugstores etc.
  • Crystal deodorant – about $7
    Natural Food stores. This type of deodorant is made of mineral salts and will prevent odor but not sweating so if your concern is the wetness this isn’t for you. But if your concern is odor and not leaving white marks on your clothes this may be a good substitute.
Hair styling gels and spray of all kinds including aerosol
I will try to find additional items to include in the hair styling products category.Hair Wax:
Make sure it’s a solid wax and then you may want to put it in an unmarked travel container or a product that comes in stick form so that a TSA screener doesn’t just assume it’s a gel.

Powdered Gelatine:
Unflavored gelatine like Knox

Powdered Aloe Vera:
Freeze Dried aloe vera gel that can be reconstituted with water http://www.chemistrystore.com/aloe.htm

Hair straightener or detangler
None found so far.
Lip gels such as Carmex or BlistexLiquid lip glosses or other liquids for lips
Chapstick or a wax lip balm in stick form, Lipstick or stick glosses with a little color:
Note that some of these that don’t have color may also be good thick moisturizers for hands and some even state they are good eye moisturizers and can be used as cuticle cream as well.No color or tint:

  • Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm – about $2
    Natural Food Stores, drugstore.com, burtsbees.com
  • Vermont’s Original Bag Balm Protective Ointment – about $6.79
    drugstore.com not sure where else – this one might be iffy because it’s a large square container
  • Rosebud Perfume Co. Smith’s Rosebud Salve – about $6
  • Alba Hawaiian Lip Balm, Coconut Cream – about $4
    Natural Food Stores, drugstore.com
  • Reviva Vitamin E Oil Stick – about $4 or Garden Botanika Vitamine E Stick – about $13 or Sugar Baby Vitamin Kiss Stick about $14 (different added ingredients)

With color or tint:

  • Blistex Lip Tone – about $2
    Groceries and Drugstores etc.
  • Cover Girl Lipslicks Lip Gloss (this is a stick) – about $4
    Groceries and Drugstores etc.
  • Neutrogena Moisture MoistureShine Tinted Lip Balm – about $8
    Groceries and Drugstores etc.
  • Alba Terra Tints Natural Tinted Lip Balm SPF18 – about $5
    Natural Food Stores, drugstore.com
  • Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer – about $4
    Natural Food Stores, drugstore.com, drugstores
Liquid bubble bath including gel or liquid filled
Powdered or tablet bubble bath or soak:

  • Lavender Foaming Milk Bath Powder – about $15
    The Body Shop
  • Powder Sugar Bath Soak (cinnamon, orange or peppermint) – about $21
    Bath and Body Works
  • Davies Gate Bath Fizz Pop with Body Oil Filling (you might be able to get away with this because it’s a solid on the outside even though it has oil in the middle – I think someone makes one that is just the fizzy ball without the oil center.) – about $12
    Bath and Body Works
Liquid foundations
Cake Foundations:
I’m listing a lot of these since it’s hard to find the exact shade and foundation that works for each individual.

  • Cover Girl Aquasmooth – about $7
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Clinique City Base Compact Foundation SPF 15 – about $23
    Department stores, clinique.com
  • Clinque Superbalanced Compact Makeup SPF 20 – about $27
    Department stores, clinique.com
  • Maybelline Express 3 in 1, Cream Stick – about $8
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Revlon Age Defying Makeup and Concealer – about $12
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • L’oreal Instant Foundation SFP 14 – about $12
    ulta.com, Groceries and Drugstores
  • Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Foundation – about $26
  • Shu Uemura Water Perfect Water-In Cake Foundation – about $33
  • Orlane Compact Cake Foundation (use Wet or Dry – this starts out as a powder) – about $30
  • Red Earth UV2 (this starts out as a powder you wet to create a liquid foundation) – about $26
  • NARS Multiple Makeup Stick – about $27
    Neiman Marcus, sephora.com
Liquid Concealer
Cake or stick concealer:

  • Physicians Formula Magic Cube Concealer – about $6
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Cover Girl Smoothers Concealer – about $6
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Maybelline Cover Stick Waterproof Concealer – about $5
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Revlon Age Defying Makeup and Concealer – about $12
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • Nars Concealer – about $20
    Neiman Marcus, sephora.com
Liquid, gel or spray perfumes and colognes
Solid Perfumes:

  • Este Lauder, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs amongst others make a few solid perfumes. I also once had a small Victoria’s Secret perfume that was a waxy solid but don’t know if you can still find it. Price varies.
    Department Stores
Liquid sanitizers
Towlette Sanitizers *

  • Baby wipes ( some are also sanitizing wipes.)
Liquid soaps
Bar and powder soaps ( too many to list)
Liquid mascara
Cake Mascara:

  • Lola Cosmetics – about $25
    Sephora.com or Ulta.com
  • Paula Dorf – about $20

(you may prefer a different applicator brush than the one these come with – you will also probably want to practice application at home before you go on a trip since these will be completely different from what you are used to)

Make up removers
Makeup Remover Pads*:

  • E.L.F. Eye Makeup Remover Pads – about $1
  • Almay Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads – about $6
    Groceries and Drugstores
  • See also Face Cleansers
Facial cleansers
Cleansing Towlettes* :

  • Olay Daily Facials Express Wet Cleansing Cloths, Sensitive Skin, Fragrance Free – about $6
    Groceries and Drugstores (personal note – I really like these and have in the past used them for my daily facial cleanser, since I have found a few things that are a little better and cheaper per use.)
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads – about $7
    Groceries and Drugstores ( I have tried these and they are pretty good – the scrubbing side would not be good for those with sensitive skin but they have a soft side as well.)

Presoaped pads/towellets (dry in package):

  • Olay Daily Facials – about $7
    Groceries and Drugstores ( I have tried these and they are pretty good.)
  • Dove Cleansing Cloths – about $7
    Groceries and Drugstores ( I have tried these and they are pretty good as well.)

Soap Powders:

  • Moisture White Cleansing Powder – about $22
    The Body Shop

Bar Soaps (too many to list – glycerine soaps are gentle)

Mouthwash Strips:

  • Listerine Pocket Paks Strips – about $3
    Most Groceries and drugstores carry these in flavors like cool mint, citrus and cinnamon

Mouthwash Powder:

  • Supersmile Single Dose Powdered Mouthrinse (60 uses) – about $29
    Bath and Body Works
Nail Polish
Dry Nail Enamel Strips:

  • Avon Instant Manicure Dry Nail Enamel Strips – about $5-$8 (they’re on sale at the time I’m writing this)

Acrylic French Manicure with white tips:

  • See your local nail salon. This isn’t a nail polish but it is a way to have good looking nails for a long period of time. The white tips mean that your nail color won’t chip. The downside – it’s not great for the health of your nails.
Nail Polish remover
Nail Polish Remover pads/towelletts*:

  • E.L.F. Nail Polish Remover Pads – about $1
  • Cutex Essential Care Nail Polish Remover Pads – about $3
    drugstore.com and most local groceries or drugstores will have some variant of this.
Shampoos **
Shampoo Bars and powders:

  • Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar – about $6
    Natural Food stores, drugstore.com, burtsbees.com (I have tried a sample of this before and it’s really pretty good – can’t get used to the idea of a bar soap shampoo for everyday use, but I would pick it for travel.)
Powdered Henna Conditioner:
Note: easier to find for red or brown hair since henna is often also a color enhance. Several brands have a neutral that can be used on any hair color (look for Rainbow Research and Surya Henna) – about $5 – $19
Search online or Natural food stores
Toothpaste **
Powdered Toothpaste:

  • Eco-dent – about $7
    Natural Food Stores
  • Baking Soda – about $1
  • Uncle Harry’s Tooth Powder – about $5
    Comes in a regular (which they say is a bit salty) and a whitening (which they say is lemony)
    Greenfeet.com (search for “tooth powder” on their site or if you google it you may find other brands as well)
Stick Moisturizer:
These will probably be too thick for typical use but if you are prone to dry skin and you have to have something…

  • Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Stick – about $13
    The Body Shop
Sunscreen (Suntan) lotion
Sunscreen Stick:
all can be found at drugstore.com, or depending on time of year and location also Walmart and local drugstores

  • Bullfrog Quick Stick SPF 36 – about $6
  • Neutrogena Healthy Defense Oil-Free Sunblock Stick, SPF 30 – about $8
  • Baby Blanket Sunblock Stick for Babies, SPF 45+ – about $5
  • Coppertone Sport Sunblock Stick, SPF 30 – about $5
  • Coppertone Kids Sunblock Stick SPF 30 – about $5
  • Hawaiian Tropic Ozone Oil Free Sunblock Stick SPF 50+ – about $6
Shaving gel** not specifically mentioned by the TSA site
Shave Soap:

  • You will actually need a Shave Brush (for the later and application) – about $6
  • Container to hold soap – about $2-$10
  • Shave Soap – about $2-$4

Drugstore.com carries several brands and you might also be able to find these at your local drugstore.

* Moistened towellets are mentioned above but they are iffy because although they aren’t liquid in bottles, they are wet and some screeners may consider this an opportunity to get rid of them. Most of these are worth a shot however because they aren’t expensive and they are at the very least a quick convenient item to pick up when you land.

** Check with your hotel and see if they have a sample size version.

If you HAVE to have a specific brand or product, consider getting a second set and calling your hotel ahead of time to see if you can ship it to them UPS, USPS, or FedEx before you leave home.

I weighed the liquids from my travel kit and they are about 1 lb 6 oz so from KY to FL it would cost about $5.15 to ship Priority Mail (2 days.) I think this would be worth the saved time if the hotel can accept it for you and doesn’t lose it in the process.

I luckily haven’t had to fly in awhile but the last time someone (a family member) convinced me to check baggage that I could have carried on, my checked bag took a 2 day trip without me to LA.

Other sites that have a plane friendly travel list:


2 responses to “TSA possible substitutions”

  1. Great idea. I’m constantly getting robbed of toiletries by customs because they’re ‘over size.’

  2. Thank you! I was hoping someone would make a list like this. I’ll be flying in a couple of weeks and it seems insane to check a little overnight bag for a weekend trip. So I’m off to find security-friendly toothpaste and moisturizer. Well, at least this is an excuse to try some new products.