Lipstickgate! Or How to Glide Through Airport Security Like An A-Lister

Lipstickgate! Or How to Glide Through Airport Security Like An A-Lister


Does anyone else find themselves scurrying down the Airport Security zig-zag lines, desperately stuffing anything remotely liquid-ey into the tiniest of plastic bags, gulping down the last drops of water before bin-ing the plastic bottle, and screaming at complete strangers…


Oh, that’s a relief… I thought I was the only unhinged one.

Honestly, I try to be an organised traveller; I long to be one of those effortlessly Glide-y Women, who have spent the previous week shopping for travel-sized toiletries, which fit nicely into their new toilet bag, which fits nicely inside their sensible Longchamp travel bag. Instead, determined as I am to Not to Pay for Hold Luggage,  I hit the airport like the Bag Lady of Alcatraz, sweating buckets under layers of clothing and invariably end up playing tug-of-war over my new Bobbi Brown lipstick, with an overzealous Security Operative.

So for the benefit of all Lipstick-Wearing Flyers here is the definitive guide on…

What is a Liquid… and How to Glide Through Security Like An A-Lister

How Much Liquid Can I Take?

The total amount of liquid you can take in hand luggage is 1 litre. Now don’t be thinking you can rock up with a litre bottle of Irn-Bru.  No siree! All liquids must in individual containers maximum size 100ml and all your containers and other liquids must fit into a clear, plastic bag no bigger than 20cm x 20cm (which the airport supply). That dinky wee bag must be seal-able – which means no cans of dry shampoo (marvellous stuff) sticking out the top!

So What is a Liquid?  

Well, according to the UK Government Liquids are defined as:

  • all drinks, including water
  • liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups
  • cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
  • sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
  • pastes, including toothpaste
  • gels, including hair and shower gel
  • contact lens solution
  • any other solutions and items of similar consistency

Gee thanks Mr UK Government, but frankly I’ve never met anyone who takes honey or soup on holiday and I‘ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t take at least 1 lipstick – so your guidance still leaves us all running around security screaming – Is Lipstick A Liquid? – at complete strangers, which really can’t be good for National Security.

And my friends, just to add to the Lipstickgate confusion it turns out that AIRPORTS DON’T KNOW EITHER!  Those canny folks at Money Saving Expert recently Surveyed 9 UK Airports (so I didn’t have to) and found that, of the 4 Airports that answered (5 declined), 2 consider lipstick a liquid and want you to put it in your plastic bag, while the other 2 don’t.  And don’t get me started on bronzer!


A table showing what liquids you can take on board a flight
Reproduced with permission of

Which leaves us all baffled as to whether we will get our stash of lippy through security.

May I humbly suggest, Mr Government, that you forget Brexit for just 10 minutes, hold a meeting and decide, once and for all, IS LIPSTICK A LIQUID?...and let us know pronto. Summer is almost here!


Do like the Glide-y Women, and get yourself a 20 x 20cm plastic bag (you can get them on Google or an appropriately sized  Sandwich or Freezer Bag will do) and the night before you fly practice stuffing all your liquids, including all your lipsticks, in it.   

Don’t take anything with you that won’t fit in the bag – unless you’re willing to lose it.

And breathe.

What About Stuff I Buy At the Airport or on a Flight?

So just to add to the confusion you CAN take alcohol, perfume or any other liquids that you buy in airport duty-free stores or on an airplane, through security, even they are in over 100ml

BUT – this is the important bit – they must be unopened and sealed in an airport security bag with a visible receipt.  So don’t do like me and open your new perfume on a flight, spray it all over yourself and your friends and the woman in aisle seat who asked for a squoosh, BECAUSE, when you try and go through security for your connecting flight, Mr Security won’t be happy and might very well confiscate your lovely new perfume.

What About Medicines and Baby Stuff?

If you have to take essential medicines or skin creams when you travel, you can have them in your cabin baggage and they can be more than 100ml, providing you have either your prescription or a note from your doctor explaining why you need them –  which you must show them to staff as you go through security. Don’t think you can blag it by showing Mr Security some random rash on your inner thigh. Rules is Rules!

If you are travelling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey – which is some cases can be over 100ml.

And Lighters?

Lighters?  Yep, for some bizarre reason, you can take a lighter – those things that produce fire – on a flight. Given that you aren’t allowed to smoke on board,  the only reason I can imagine that you’d need a lighter would be to light the fuse on a cartoon-y bomb – which is definitely a No No – even the Government rules are clear on that one.

A cartoon image of a bomb

Lipstick. Lighter. I know which one sounds more dangerous to me. Just saying.

What Should I Wear?

Gucci, darling. Kidding. Wear what you like but EXCEPT…

Boots – your feet will swell during the flight and you’ll never get them back on.

Socks with no holes –  you’ll thank me when you have to remove your shoes to go through the security scanner.

Underwear with Diamonte Bits (that includes you too boys) you’ll set off the scanner and set yourself up for a thorough frisking.

PS I’m chuffed to bits that I’ve has been nominated in The Funniest Blogger Category in The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. If you feel inclined you can vote for Midlife Smarts on this link. Thanx x

The End

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  1. 7 April 2018 / 8:26 am

    Haha, love this! I don’t wear lipstick (I know, sorry!!) but I do wear Vaseline – similar rules seem to apply, or not! eek!

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:30 am

      Thanks Shelley. It is all a bit baffling! And no doubt Vaseline is a liquid!

  2. 7 April 2018 / 8:28 am

    Fab post Jill, especially as I’ll be travelling your way VERY soon! I’m thrilled you’ve been nominated too and so well deserved I must say 🙂 All the best!

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:31 am

      Oh thanks Debbie. That’s so lovely to hear. And hope the knowledge that lipstick is sometimes a liquid is helpful LOL! Jill x

      • 19 May 2018 / 8:44 am

        This was so useful to know when I came over here. Look forward to seeing you soon. 😊

  3. 7 April 2018 / 8:28 am

    I NEVER know what to put in the bag or not in the bag! It stresses me out every time that I fly!

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:32 am

      Totally. Travelling is stressful enough without worrying about lipstick!! Thanks for popping on.

  4. Sonia Boal
    7 April 2018 / 8:49 am

    Oh I hate these airport restrictions, they are such a faff! Having said that, i’ve Gone through security with lipstick in my pocket, lip gloss had to go in the bag.

    Congratulations on the nomination xxx

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:53 am

      Thanks Sonia. They are a total streessssss. I am ridiculously excited about being nominated 🙂

  5. 7 April 2018 / 8:52 am

    I think I do pretty well with packing but I just had to read this again for new information… Thanks for the reminder…. it can get so annoying when you’re delayed for reasons like this

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:54 am

      It is all very confusing. I am convinced airport staff make it up depending on how they feel that day 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  6. 7 April 2018 / 9:34 am

    I’ve actually been asked to repack my ‘packed at home’ clear plastic bag by one jobs-worth at security. Apparently, you are supposed to use THEIR bag. I’d used the same airline supplied bag for years till then.

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 9:35 am

      OMG – that’s a cracker. I swear they make up to rules as they go along. Shoes off. Shoes on. Belts. Phones. Jackets and of course Lippy! No-one has a clue!

  7. 7 April 2018 / 9:46 am

    Congratulations on your nomination Jill, absolutely chuffed to bits for you! I always tend to have a random lipstick or gloss rolling around the bottom of my bag, or in a pocket and haven’t been called out for that yet! And the lighter thing? As an ex-smoker I was always grateful but can’t understand why a fire starting implement is allowed but they then give you those horrendous plastic knives that wouldn’t slice through jelly…

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 12:13 pm

      Haha. Yeah the lighter thing is totally bizarre. And thanks for our congrats. I am so pleased to have been nominated

  8. 7 April 2018 / 10:39 am

    I’ve recently been through Manchester airport and this post makes a lot of sense. Like Shelley, I also don’t wear lipstick (now you know 2 people 😃), but I had the dilemma with my Nivea lip cream. And what is the point of the plastic bags anyway???

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 12:15 pm

      Well I be darned – two non-lipstick wearers in one day! I guess shouting Is Nivea Lip Cream A Liquid would be just as unhinged 🙂

  9. 7 April 2018 / 12:03 pm

    It doesn’t matter if lipstick is a liquid. If it’s under three ounces you can pack it and carry it on. That’s how I always do it with my lipstick!

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 12:15 pm

      Well thank you Phil – I should have consulted you for some expert advice on the lippy front 🙂 AND Congrats on your nomination!!

  10. 7 April 2018 / 12:56 pm

    I’ve now resorted to just putting it in the liquid bag and taking it out if they tell me to – I’ve had three tubes of Clinique lipstick confiscated throughout the years and I am NOT risking that again. You would think the air authorities could come together and make a list….

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Once I had a lovely bottle of red wine that I bought in Bordeuax confiscated (my fault) and numerous cosmetics! Airport staff must have wonderful office parties at Christmas 🙂 Thanks for popping on. Jill

  11. 7 April 2018 / 1:24 pm

    This is very helpful. Even with my extensive traveling, I still get confused which one is ok and not ok to hand carry. I just end up putting them all in my check-in bag. lol.

    By the way, congratulations on the nomination xoxo

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 1:39 pm

      It is totally baffling! I think the staff make it up as they go along 🙂 And thanks re the nomination – I am so thrilled Jill x

  12. 7 April 2018 / 1:40 pm

    I never thought of lipstick as a liquid. Like you I try and avoid check baggage. I started putting all my “liquids” in a zip-lock bag (from home) not even a make-up bag. My carry-on has a small zipped section in front and when I go through security I slap that bag on the counter and done. Helps I don’t wear a lot of make-up to begin with.

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Hey Brenda, that sounds like a pretty straighforward approach. Not sure if you are in the UK but airports here can be very strict. Thanks for popping on JIll

      • 19 May 2018 / 11:17 am

        In Canada trying to get everywhere. Last few times I’ve travelled I’ve just taken a carry-on so conscious of what is in it. Clothes wise I wear runners and yoga pants. Outfit without belts or anything to set machine off. Plus comfortable.

        • Jill
          20 May 2018 / 6:56 am

          Comfortable is No. 1!!! When I fly I do look like I am off to the gym rather than a slick traveller but at least I am comfy!! Thanks for popping on. JIll

  13. 7 April 2018 / 3:34 pm

    I try to keep a small zip lock bag in my travel purse (I have a huge bag that qualifies as a free carry on) and stuff my liquids in it before hand. But I never really know if I’ve done it right…seems to be a mystery that is not yet solved. Thanks for bringing humor to the situation!

    • Jill
      8 April 2018 / 7:51 am

      Hi Candi- it’s all so confusing. I find the UK really strict but some European countries seem a bit more lax. Which leaves us all feeling totally confused. Good to hear from you. JIll x

  14. 7 April 2018 / 5:23 pm

    This is so frustrating. I just gave up and started packing all my makeup in one case. So far it has worked out okay. You make a great point though that all airports are different!

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Totally. Makes travelling with hand luggage really tricky. Thank for popping on x

  15. 7 April 2018 / 7:28 pm

    Oh my gosh… I’m going on holiday this summer and was planning on bringing some of my good lip gloss… I hadn’t even considered it might count as a liquid! Gah! Now I’ve got to see if they fit in my plastic baggies… Geez.

    • Jill
      7 April 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Hope you’re off somewhere nice. Thanks for visiting. Jill x

  16. 8 April 2018 / 10:03 am

    I had to read this as my 2 sons and I depart for Los Angeles in exactly 12 hours & 38 minutes, not that I’m counting down or anything. Now you got me worried about my lipsticks b/c all be damned if I’m going to throw out my red MAC lipstick my sister got me. I do have a wine opener in my clutch I can’t forget to remove. Are you serious about the lighter? I’m pretty sure that’s a deal breaker here in the states. Great post! Also, congratulations on your nomination! You are very funny!

    • Jill
      8 April 2018 / 10:55 am

      Oh how exciting. Lighters – yes UK Government allow them – bizarre!! I think Europe/ UK more strict than USA. If you manage to smuggle on he wine opening I’ll be well impressed! Looking forward to LaLa Land update. Congrats to you too – so chuffed to be included with such a funny bunch (in a good way) of bloggers including your good self. Jill x

  17. 10 April 2018 / 1:22 pm

    I loathe airport security – I always feel like a criminal and worry about all the rules and regulations – and when you travel through different countries they change the rules and heaven help you if you set off that stupid metal detector and have to strip off everything that remotely looks metal! Congrat on your nomination x

    • Jill
      10 April 2018 / 1:28 pm

      Hi Leanne, It’s soooo stressful and I am sure Security Staff make up the rules as they go! Thanks – delighted to be nominted. JIll x

  18. 19 May 2018 / 8:05 am

    This is a part of travel that always confuses me. I just put everything that has every been in a liquid form into a bag. Often I think I am just confusing the airport people because I also have all of my diabetes meds too, I should just put my lipstick in with my medications…

  19. 19 May 2018 / 8:06 am

    So informative! Wish I’d had this list back when I travelled in April! Will save it for next trip!

  20. 19 May 2018 / 8:13 am

    This makes me laugh every time I read it 😃 Have a great day at The Bloggers Bash Awards – good luck x

  21. Sonia Boal
    19 May 2018 / 10:08 am

    I now have a little clear pouch for air travel makeup, (this is basically an excuse to replace my battered lipstick & eyeliner 😆)

    • Jill
      20 May 2018 / 6:58 am

      Any old excuse is good with me. I do try and be organised but still end up stuffing too much in one of those little plastic bags. Streeeeessssss! Jill x

  22. 19 May 2018 / 10:47 am

    I find different countries equals different rules and even different airports within different countries differ!!

    • Jill
      20 May 2018 / 6:57 am

      Totally! If you fly out to Spain from UK it’s like a military operation but then you fly home security just waves you through. I honestly still don’t know the rules. I am sure they make it up on the day! JIll

  23. 19 May 2018 / 11:58 am

    I am definitely one of those persons I think they begab selling ziplock bags at the airport because of me actually… haha this made me chuckle..

    • Jill
      20 May 2018 / 6:55 am

      Oh thanks. Confusion Rules!!

  24. 19 May 2018 / 12:28 pm

    so Jill 007 is here to help other ladies? Great!

    • Jill
      20 May 2018 / 6:53 am

      Haha Yes just call me Bond. MIdlife Bond 🙂

  25. 19 May 2018 / 3:07 pm

    Haha!! That lighter thing is a shocker. I don’t believe—as Angela said—that’s allowed here. BUT, I have yet to use a plastic bag and I’ve never been stopped for my failure to comply. That always seems super redundant to me. I have a cosmetic bag in my luggage, within which my toiletries reside and they have an X-RAY machine for fricks sake—why do they need the baggy? I know—i’m An airport rebel.
    The only time I had a problem was when my name on my ID and my ticket didn’t match. That was no fun. Do they have a pre-check security option I The UK? It’s a lifesaver here. Best $80 I ever spent.

    • Jill
      20 May 2018 / 6:52 am

      Hey Angela, I think airport security is much tougher in the UK. It’s a bit of a military operation and if you have so much as underwear with a bit of diamonte on it you set off all sort of alarms!! I haven’t hear of pre-check security option – sounds like a winner. Thanks for commenting. Jillx

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