The powders you can and can't take in your hand luggage under new airport rules

Passengers jetting off from Australian international airports will soon find their carry-on luggage subject to much stricter security, with new rules creating confusion to which powders you can and can’t take on-board.

From June 30, the Australian government is restricting the amount of powdered product – such as talcum powder or powder-based cosmetics – that you can take on board international flights.

The decision follows a foiled bomb plot on an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney in July 2017.

There will be tougher screening at airport security and the measures will also extend to Australian domestic passengers departing from international terminals.

Travellers using International Airports like Sydney will have to ensure their powdered items are permitted or risk losing them at the gate. Source: Getty

While liquids, aerosols and gels already have carry-on restrictions, for powders it depends if they are organic and inorganic. For powders classed inorganic, passengers can take no more than 350 grams in total on board.

The Australian Government defines inorganic as “a powder not consisting of, or derived from, living matter”, meaning travellers will now need to double check what has gone into their powdered items.

Commonly used items you should be aware of after June 30:

Restricted powders

Powdered deodorants

Several big name brands do contain inorganic elements, meaning it will be up to the discretion of the traveller to check if their powdered deodorant is okay to travel with.

Talcum powder/foot powder

Talcum powder will be one product subject to restrictions. Source: stock/AAP

Talcum and foot powders are generally deemed inorganic powders and are subject to the restriction of no more than 350 grams per passenger.

Salt/salt scrub

Listed as an “inorganic powder”, salt will be part of a passenger’s restricted powders that must not exceed 350 grams in total

However, Epsom salt is considered organic and faces no quantity restrictions.


Listed as an “inorganic powder”, sand, sometimes found in souvenirs and toys, will only be permitted through the checkpoint as part of a passenger’s restricted powders that must not exceed 350 grams in total

Organic powders – not restricted

Protein powders

Protein powders are not restricted under the new carry-on rules. Source: Getty

Travellers who like to pack protein powder in their carry-on luggage are more than likely to be free to do so without limitations as most brands fall under the organic bracket.

If there are inorganic products listed within the powder, the same 350-gram restrictions will apply.

Powdered baby formula

Parents and travellers carrying baby formula are free to continue doing so without limitation.

Like all powdered items, they will have to present them separately at the checkpoint for approval.

Cosmetics including compact powder, blush, eye shadow

Most cosmetics won’t be restricted. Source: Getty

While a large percentage of cosmetic items are listed as organic, making them exempt from the 350g rule, travellers should be aware of what they contain or face the risk of having to dispose of an inorganic item at the security checkpoint.

Like powdered deodorants, some cosmetic brands contain inorganic products – which are permitted in quantities totalling no more than 350g.


The new 350g/ml rule should not apply to coffee, as it is falls under the organic bracket. The same goes for sugar, spices and flour.

Key points to remember

Source: Australian Government

There are no restrictions on the number of containers of inorganic powders per person, provided the total volume of all the containers of inorganic powder is 350 millilitres/grams or less per person.

Passengers cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350g threshold as the restriction is calculated on total container volume.

There is no limit on organic powders, such as food and powdered baby formula.