Can You Bring Hair Styling Tools In Carry-On: Beginner's Guide

Holiday, the perfect time to let your hair down! Nevertheless, an unkempt head of hair is the stuff of nightmares for many globetrotters. 

“Can I bring hair styling tools in my carry-on?” “How to pick the right products?” “What packing technique should I be using?” These are all common questions that may arise when one wishes to keep tangled hair under control during travel.

To arm you with the basics on packing for your next travel, our team at CabinZero has put together the ultimate step-by-step guide to bringing hair products onto flights. Read on to find the answers to all your queries.

TSA Regulations For Hair Styling Tools In Hand Luggage

Spend time learning about regulations beforehand, and you are off to a great start! Photo by Shari Sirotnak on Unsplash

Can I include hair styling tools in my hand luggage? The general answer is yes. These items are by no means prohibited on board.

That being said, the TSA has stringent rules about which electrical appliances and products passengers can carry onto planes. Hazardous materials or ones potentially harmful are always under great scrutiny.

1. Electrical Items With Cords

According to the TSA, corded hair styling tools are indeed permitted on flights. They have no restrictions as long as they don’t have batteries or cartridges containing gas/fuel.

Side note: The TSA officer on duty will have the final say in whether a particular item can pass the checkpoint.

2. Electrical Items Without Cords

Cordless tools require a bit more finesse. They either use lithium-ion batteries or gas/butane to function. These are ignition-prone substances and are only allowed in hand luggage.

Each passenger can carry one hydrocarbon gas or butane-powered device only. The heating source must be fully covered and shielded from potential activation. On that same note, spare cartridges, also called gas refills, are strictly prohibited from being brought on board.

As for battery-operated tools, they are allowed on the condition that the lithium batteries are removable. Otherwise, these tools will not be checked in.

3. Hairspray, Hair Gel And Mousse

Aerosols and gels must adhere to the TSA 3-1-1 guideline for liquids to qualify for carry-on. The requirement is that they must be stored in 3.4 ounces / 100 millilitres containers and packed together with other toiletries in a resealable, clear, quart-sized bag. 

Side note: A cap should always be on your hair spray bottles. That way, you won’t find your luggage content soaked in products upon arrival.

4. Carrying Hair Styling Tools In Your Carry On When Travelling To The UK

The UK government travel adversity states that hair dryers or straighteners are allowed in both carry-on and hold luggage. The only one you need to pay attention to is gas-powered hair curlers: ensure that the gas cartridge safety cover stays on at all times, and never take the gas cartridges separately.

Hair Styling Tools Permitted/Forbidden On Board 

Light packing is synonymous with omitting unsuited items. Now that you have known the regulations inside out let’s get into specifics! 

1. Safe Gadgets To Bring On Flights

Contemplating which one you should bring along? These devices are a no-brainer! Photo by diana.grytsku on Freepik

Suppose you are still trying to decide which hair styling tools are your safe choice, no sweat. Our team has put together a neat list for your reference. You are good to go as long as these items are plug-in and powered by electricity.

  • Blow dryer
  • Hair straightener
  • Hot roller 
  • Hot-air brushes
  • Hot combs.

2. Products That You Should Steer Clear Of

In addition to the devices mentioned in the previous section, here are some tools likely to be rejected at checkpoints:

  • Hair developer: It is an oxidiser that contains hazardous substances and will not be allowed on any flights.
  • Rat-tail-style combs: The signature sharp metal ends are a big no-no as they are considered potential weapons (due to their metal tail). Hair styling tools akin to this would be confiscated at once.

Tips For Packing Hair Styling Appliances

Admit it, electrical tools are hefty and packing them is far from a breeze. Especially when you are travelling only with hand baggage, space is limited, and finding room for these products will undoubtedly be challenging.

Worry not, as we are here to help. With the following tips and tricks, you should be able to power through this excruciating process and set off in no time.

1. Leave Your Most Expensive Items At Home

Rule of thumb: opt for small and inexpensive gadgets! Photo by Andrea Donato on Unsplash

It is only natural for people to pack what they use daily for travel. We strongly advise you against that. Despite your pulling out all stops to toe the line, there is still a slight chance of your hair styling tools not making it through airport security.

Consider investing in travel-size gadgets to bring along on your trips. They are compact and will not cost you a fortune to replace.

Side note: If, on a whim, you decide to do your hair right before packing, don’t panic. Grab a spare towel or any thick clothing to wrap the appliances. This should prevent the heat from getting to other items. Sometimes, with hot tools, an oven mitt might just do the job.

2. 2-In-1 Devices Work Wonders

Combined hair tools are in vogue for their chic design and high efficiency. A 2-in-1 straightening iron and hair curler is space-saving and will help unburden your luggage. Given that you are only allowed to carry one butane hair styling product on board, it also helps if you have a cordless model.

3. A Sturdy Case Goes A Long Way

Simply placing hair styling equipment in your backpack or suitcase is not enough. Things can fly around and break without proper securing and protection. 

Hard shell carrying cases are sure to help a ton. Your items would stay organised throughout the flight and come out in one piece. Most are also heat resistant and waterproof, guaranteeing maximum safety.

Want to make taking hair styling tools in your hand luggage a breeze? Consider a handy bag such as CabinZero Crossbody 11L. It is water-resistant, comfortable and fits a lot, from hair dryers to straighteners.


1. Should I Include A Blow Dryer When Packing?

Light packing is synonymous with omitting unnecessary items. Photo by boyarkinamarina on Freepik

Many consider blow dryers a travel must-have as they are a daily item. But make no mistake, taking one with you might do more harm than good. Here’s why.

For starters, they are bulky and take up a great deal of space. This is not ideal for carry-ons, and you would be better off leaving it at home, making room for other essentials.

Furthermore, hair dryers are a standard in most hotels nowadays. Check with the hotels before packing to free you of some extra weight. And if there isn’t one readily available where you are staying, an inexpensive hair dryer purchased at any local electronics will suffice.

2. Should Other Airline Regulators Be A Point Of Concern?

Sometimes in aviation, TSA does not have the final say in what you can bring onto flights or vice versa. Other airline regulators, such as FAA, IATA, CTA, etc., might keep you from boarding. Fortunately, there aren't any additional restrictions on hair styling tools, meaning the rules mentioned above can be applied across the board.

3. Will My Gadgets Work In Other Parts Of The World?

Presenting electricity sockets, globetrotters’ mortal enemy! Photo by Chirayu Trivedi on Unsplash

Electricals can be quite tricky when travelling overseas. Depending on the country of destination, you might run into grave problems trying to power hair appliances. To prevent potential malfunctions, look out for the following things. 

It is a cardinal rule to check for compatibility. Socket type, voltage and frequency are the three main considerations when packing electrical equipment. A voltage transformer or converter ensures smooth operation when the supply voltage is different.

Plugs and sockets run a gamut of shapes and sizes. Hence, a travel adapter might come in handy. This universal device allows you to plug your tools into diverse foreign outlets, rendering hair styling hassle-free.

Side note: Voltage information is usually located on the cord or the back of the device. 

  • 110V outlets are primarily used in North America, South America, most Caribbean countries and a few Asian countries. 
  • 240V outlets are widely used in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. 

Check if you have a dual-voltage or a single-voltage device. Typically, with dual-voltage ones, a range will be listed (e.g. 110-120V, 220V-240V). You might only need an adapter if this is the case. 

Bottom Line

So, what are our key takeaways?

  • Can I bring hair styling tools in my carry-on? Yes, you can.
  • While you can bring hair styling tools in your carry-on and checked bag, there are certain restrictions and regulations you must adhere to.
  • Make sure to check with the airline or airport before travelling with any items that may be considered hazardous or flammable.
  • When it comes to packing, less is more. Be willing to leave out some stuff and only bring the most efficient ones.
  • Safety first! Secure your tools before anything else
  • Additional devices, such as a travel adapter, might be needed if you travel overseas.

With some forethought and know-how, you should be able to breeze through TSA check and board planes with your favourite hair products. Say goodbye to frizz and immerse yourself in the wonders that your dream destination has to offer.

Did you find this article useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more packing tips. And in the meantime, bon voyage!

Anna Pham

1 comment

  • Ammar

    Article Bien expliqué !

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