I've always traveled with St.Ives Apricot Scrub - but is it a liquid or not?
On my first trip to Italy, I had booked myself a hostel bed in the village of Finale Ligure. Up, up, up I climbed, hundreds of steps, until I came to the hostel's door at the top of the hill. Of course, it was closed for a mid-day cleaning! So down, down, down I went to kill some time at the beach. A whipping wind coated my sunscreen-clad body in a thick layer of sand. After a few hours, it was time to haul myself back up the hill. That was one well deserved shower! The effort it took to scrub off all the sweat, sunscreen, and embedded sand left me with remarkably smooth skin. Talk about a backpacker's spa treatment!
There's no denying that traveling can leave you gritty, grimy, and in need of a good scrub but I prefer to use something other than sand these day!
I'm not the only traveler carting along bath scrubs and bath salts and readers want to know if any of these products are carry-on friendly.
The 411 on 311 Kits - What is a Liquid, Anyway?
First, a lesson on liquids. The TSA bans liquids and gels that are in containers greater than 3.4 ounces and not stored in a clear 1 quart bag. While some products are very obviously liquids (shampoo) and gels (hair gel), others are trickier. One good rule is to ask yourself: does the product pour, spread, squeeze, or spray, and does it hold its shape when it's outside the container? These are the key clues to determining a product's status as a liquid or a solid
Bath Salts and Bath Bombs
Bath salts and bath bombs are therefore very TSA friendly and are one of my favorite non-liquid toiletries to bring along. My personal favourites are made by Lush, who produces some of the most creative bath bombs I've ever seen, as well as a play dough-like bubble bath bar. Take note that if you are buying or making homemade bath bombs with a significant quantity of dried fruit or botanical products in it, it may be considered an agricultural product by countries with strict quarantine rules.
Essential Oils = Essentially Okay
Some bath salts are actually wet to the touch when the salts are coated with essential oils or bath oils. "Wet" bath salts or salt based body scrubs are NOT considered liquids. The salts do hold their shape outside of the container and they do not pour, spread, squeeze, or spray. The only concern would be if the oils were excessive and there was a layer of liquid oil on the top. My research revealed no instances of "wet" bath salts or salt based scrubs being challenged or confiscated by the TSA but ultimately individual agents are allowed to use their own judgement on these matters.
Scrubbing Up For An Experiment
While bath salts are in the clear, body scrubs are not. While some are obviously liquids, with scrubbing beads suspended in a liquid gel, others can be quite thick. One travelers' staple is St. Ives Apricot Scrub - I love and and I always travel with it. It's so thick that it seems impossible that it could be considered a liquid - or is it?
I purchased a new container of St Ives, turned it on its side, and watched it for 3 hours. All in the name of research! It held the swirl at the top of the product and didn't move an inch. Doesn't seem very liquid-y to me! However, I CAN squeeze and spread it. I bet if i put it in cheesecloth and pressed it, liquid could come out. Sadly, body scrubs ARE considered liquids. While some might be very thick, they still belong in a 3-1-1 kit.
TSA Friendly 100% Of The Time
If you're looking for a TSA friendly body scrub or exfoliate, I recommend using a dry product. You can get 'gritty' soaps with oatmeal, herbs, and other embedded scrubbers. I love Eminence's Strawberry Rhubarb Derma-foliant, which is a dry powder you add to water to create a creamy scrub.
Finally, if you really want a traditional liquid scrub and want to bypass security, take heart. St Ives Apricot scrub is frequently sold at airport drug stores; and toiletry stores like the Body Shop are widespread. Chances are you can find everything you need on the other side of security!
Do you have a travel related question? Send it our way and we'll do our best to help!
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