Will Nail Polish Explode On A Plane? Girl, getting those nails done before a vacay is practically a travel tradition! I know I personally can’t relax on the beach or sightsee with chipped polish. But flying with your lacquers and nail supplies does require some extra care and planning.
Let me walk you through everything you need to know about bringing nail polish on planes! I’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks over the years to make sure your manis – and bags – survive the flight unscathed.
Will Nail Polish Explode On A Plane?
This is one of the most common questions I get before a big trip! And it’s understandable – no one wants to arrive at their destination to a messy suitcase covered in spilled glitter and glass.
The concern with nail polish comes from the changes in air pressure that happen when flying at high altitudes. In the cabin, air pressure drops significantly compared to being on the ground. Some liquids and gasses can potentially expand and burst under this decreased pressure.
However, I have hauled numerous bottles of polish on flights both nationally and internationally, and have thankfully never experienced one exploding mid-air! With proper packing and precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk.
While possible, it is very rare for nail polish to actually explode on a plane due to cabin pressure changes. But it doesn’t hurt to take steps to remove even that slight risk when traveling with your beloved nail supplies.
TSA Regulations for Nail Polish
Before we get into packing tips, let’s go over the TSA rules on flying with nail polish:
- Nail polish is allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage.
- If packed in your carry-on, each polish bottle cannot exceed 3.4 oz/100 ml. This falls under the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule.
- There are no size restrictions for nail polish in checked baggage. You can pack full-size bottles.
- All liquids, gels, pastes and aerosols must be packed in a clear quart-size bag in your carry-on. This includes nail polish.
- Be prepared for officers to inspect your nail polish and supplies if flagged during security screening.
So by following the standard TSA regulations, you can travel worry-free with nail polish on any flight! Now let’s get into the best practices for packing it.
Section 1: Choosing Travel-Safe Nail Polish
Not all polishes are created equal when it comes to air travel! Some formulas and bottles fare better during flight. Here are my top tips for choosing the safest nail lacquers to pack:
- Matte polishes are less risky than high-shine and gel formulas, as they contain less solvents.
- Cream and sheer polishes typically have lower solvent content than shimmers and glitters.
- Look for polishes labeled “5-Free” as these don’t contain harsh chemicals that can volatilize.
- Plastic and flexible bottles expand better than glass ones.
- Thicker, opaque bottles prevent light exposure which can thin formula.
- Purchase mini/travel sizes (under 3.4 oz) specifically for carry-on packing.
With some formula awareness, you can pick sturdy polishes that make safe flight companions!
Packing Nail Polish in Carry-On vs. Checked Bags
Should you pack nail polish in your carry-on or check it for the flight? I recommend:
- Carry-on: Only bring what you need for touch-ups, in 3.4 oz bottles. This limits potential mess and loss.
- Checked: Pack full-size/multiple polishes you don’t need immediate access to. Less risk of cluttering your seat space.
- Ship supplies instead of checking when possible – prevents damage from baggage handling.
Ultimately it’s personal preference – both carry-on and checked bags pose advantages and risks described below…
Section 2: Nail Polish in Carry-On Luggage
Packing polish in your carry-on allows you to keep a close eye on your mani must-haves and do touch-ups whenever needed. However, any leaks or spills that occur inflight will make a mess of your seat area.
To make carry-on packing smooth, I recommend:
- Only bring a few versatile shades you know you’ll use. Don’t overdo it!
- Place bottles standing upright in a clear TSA bag for easy screening.
- Pack polishes in plastic bags or wrap with clothes to prevent leakage.
- Keep polish bag accessible, not buried under heavy items that can break bottles.
- Never store polish in the seatback pocket – it can leak or explode with pressure changes.
With smart packing, you can carry-on multiple polishes safely. Just stay vigilant and prepared to contain any leaks. Having polish on hand trumps checked bag risks for me.
Nail Polish in Checked Bags
Checking nail polish allows you to bring unlimited full sizes without cluttering your in-flight space. However, you run the risk of damaged, lost or spilled bottles if luggage is mishandled.
My tips for checked bag success:
- Wrap each bottle individually in bubble wrap or cloth to prevent breakage.
- Place padded polish bottles in a hard case or sturdy bag for added protection.
- Use zip-top bags around padded bottles as a second barrier against leaks.
- Pack polish deep in the center of your luggage, cushioned by clothes on all sides.
- Never check polish in its original paper or flimsy packaging – needs more support.
- Inspect bottles for cracks beforehand and apply reinforcements like glue or nail polish if needed.
With sufficient padding and protection, nail polish can survive checked luggage. It’s up to you whether the risk is worth the convenience!
Section 3: Preventing Air Pressure Damage
The final key to stop explode-age is preventing air pressure damage itself. No matter where you pack them, here are tips to keep polish bottles intact:
- Completely seal each bottle – check that lids are twisted tightly shut so no air can escape.
- Store caps separately to avoid them loosening or popping off in transit.
- Wrap the polish bottle cap with plastic wrap, tape or a baggie as an extra seal.
- Ensure bottles are filled to the top with no air bubbles – less space for expansion.
- Don’t shake or agitate nail polish before flight – creates bubbles.
- If a bottle looks pressurized, gently loosen cap after landing to normalize.
- Never fly with nail polish bottles that are cracked, empty, or have loose caps.
With an airtight, protective seal and limited air space, your polish is much less likely to burst on the plane!
While nail polish exploding mid-flight is highly uncommon, taking a few precautions ensures a smooth journey for your mani minis. Limit carry-on quantities, wrap bottles properly, and seal tightly to prevent pressurization mishaps.
Most importantly – don’t stress about polish predicaments, girl! Focus on the fun awaiting at your destination. Just pack smart, travel safe and you can jet-set anywhere with a perfectly polished set of nails!
So, relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about your manicure, and don’t forget to read more on Villa Nails blog for further tips!