Airport rule is a pain for makeup wearers

With the "liquid ban" being enforced, some women are caught off guard with having to part with their beauty products.

Published August 15, 2006

TAMPA - Maria Safi arrived at the airport on Monday with lip gloss, mascara, eye shadow and lotion in her carry-on bag, not knowing they were banned items since last week's foiled terror plot in England.

It was too late to put them in checked luggage. She could have thrown them away.

Instead, she paid $5 to mail them home.

"I didn't want to replace it," said Safi, 27, a bartender from Detroit. "It'd be too expensive."

For many women, carrying makeup is as common as carrying car keys and cash, and just as important. So the Transportation Security Administration's ban on liquids and gels from carry-on luggage hit women especially hard. Nearly every hair, face and body product has to be checked in or thrown away.

On Monday, women at Tampa International Airport grumbled about having to empty their favorite beauty products from their purses. Many said they bring makeup everywhere they go and liked touching up on flights or at the airport. But for the most part, they said they understood.

"I think it's a big inconvenience to women, but I'd rather be safe than sorry," said Bianca Crespo, 21.

Others weren't as sympathetic.

"I was mad. Completely amazed that they were doing this," said Janine Mazziotta, a real estate investor from Los Angeles. "I'm going to be putting it on my lips, for God's sake. It's lip gloss, it can't be an explosive. It's going on my mouth."

Throwing it away can dent the pocketbook.

Some women spend thousands of dollars on their cosmetics collection. Mazziotta, 41, said she owns more than $5,000 worth of makeup.

"I love my makeup," she said. "It's part of my wardrobe for the day."

On her flight to Florida, Mazziotta said she stowed her lip glosses in her boyfriend's pocket at the security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport. The couple made it through security. So did the glosses.

Although TIA officials said most women have heard about the ban and are complying, several said they still mistakenly packed their makeup into their check-in luggage.

Crespo, a student at the University of Illinois-Chicago, had just finished checking in for her flight back to Chicago. She was relaxing at a table outside the security checkpoint, chatting with her boyfriend and applying pink lip gloss.

"Shoot, I'm going to have to throw this out," she said. "I didn't even think about it."

Crespo's boyfriend, Austin Baumann, laughed at her oversight. Then he realized he had a nearly full bottle of Perry Ellis cologne in his carry-on backpack.

"I totally forgot to take this out of the bag. Man. Oh well," said Baumann, 23, an assistant producer at a radio station. "I should just pour it on my head right now."

Instead, he sprayed himself a few times before giving the bottle away.

In the past, Melissa Lake traveled with her makeup in a carry-on bag. But in a ritual repeated at airports across the country, she now shoves it all into a checked suitcase.

Mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, eye gel, powder, foundation, cleanser, toner, body lotion, body scrub and sunscreen.

"I'm just going for an overnight trip," said Lake, 39, a software sales representative from Clearwater.

For women who can't check their makeup and don't want to throw it away or risk sneaking it through security, the Traveler's Aid desk at TIA can assist passengers by mailing home banned items.

Traveler's Aid volunteer Rey Warner, 72, said women haven't been creating too much of a fuss about mailing their items home.

"They're a little put out but they understand," he said.

Amanda Dehner, 18, of Spring Hill, was forced to part with a $25 lip gloss when she went through security Monday at MacArthur Airport in New York.

Dehner said "definitely women are affected more" by the liquid ban.

"Guys really only carry a wallet and keys - whatever they can fit in their pocket," she said. "Women have a whole purse to fill with junk."

Andrea Chang can be reached at achang@sptimes.com or 727 893-8760.

Before you fly:

The following restrictions are in place at U.S. airports after last week's foiled terror plot in England:

- Liquids are banned from carry-on luggage and cannot be taken through security checkpoints. That includes drinks, toothpaste, perfume, shampoo, hair gel, suntan lotion and similar items. Drinks purchased in the airport cannot be carried onto flights.

- Baby formula and medications will be allowed but must be presented for inspection at security checkpoints.

- All shoes must be removed and placed on an X-ray belt for screening.

- Passengers traveling to the United Kingdom should contact their airline for information about any extra security measures or precautions that might be required.

-Times wires