A Guide to Shipping Dangerous Goods: Beauty & Cosmetics | FlavorCloud

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You might not automatically associate ‘Dangerous Goods’ with beauty and cosmetic products. But in transportation, many items such as perfumes, nail polish, or aerosols tick the ‘hazmat’ box. If you’re a merchant in this sector and you ship to customers, it’s essential to get it right.

The beauty and cosmetic sector is a huge opportunity for merchants. In fact, it’s one of the most valuable global markets, worth some $511 billion, with projections of $716.6 billion by 2025. As with other sectors post-pandemic, bricks and mortar store closures have seen online sales for beauty and cosmetics rising significantly.

The global opportunity is difficult to ignore, and shipping internationally is key to achieving growth. FlavorCloud can help with the nuances of worldwide shipping in the beauty and cosmetics sector, including navigating Dangerous Goods regulations while guaranteeing the best international shipping rates and routes via our Global Carrier Network.

Classifying which Goods are Dangerous

What makes a good ‘dangerous’ when shipping? Any material or substance that poses a risk to health, safety or property during transportation is classified as ‘dangerous’. This means stringent compliance with regulations around packaging, handling, and stowage of goods, as well as proper communication.

In beauty and cosmetics, while products like lipsticks and creams don’t usually fall into the ‘dangerous’ category, perfumes, nail polish (flammable liquid; contain alcohol), and anything that comes in an aerosol or spray can (explosive) likely will. Again, not because they’re inherently dangerous, but because they pose potential safety risks when transported.

Guidance on Shipping Beauty & Cosmetics Products

Governing bodies dictate regulations around transporting Dangerous Goods. So, when shipping these products, you must know the proper packaging, labeling, and certification rules that apply to the items being shipped. You’ll find labeling requirements for Dangerous Goods shipments specified in section 14 of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS or SDS).

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS or SDS)

Section 14 of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS or SDS) example

Air transportation of Dangerous Goods is regulated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and all IATA regulations must be followed when shipping goods classified as ‘dangerous’. Proper certification and training are required, and you’ll need to provide a Dangerous Goods Note/Declaration when transporting the goods. The person who signs the note must have completed the appropriate training.

Carriers typically require their clients to be certified to ship Dangerous Goods within their network, as rules can vary for different forms of transport (air, sea, ground), so you should always check with your carrier and the MSDS for direction.

Top Tip? Be Prepared.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, you must be sure about what you’re shipping. Discuss this with suppliers or manufacturers before you purchase stock so you’re not caught out when you get to shipping. Beauty and cosmetic manufacturers must provide relevant product information, but it is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure they adhere to the proper shipping requirements. It is always worth double-checking with the carrier and supplier.

If you’re working with a 3PL, ensure they are fully certified and have the right expertise to work with Dangerous Goods. We wouldn’t advise being a 3PL’s first Dangerous Goods customer. Only experience and knowledge can give you real reassurance. In fact, your 3PL will likely have an approval process for working with merchants who ship Dangerous Goods to ensure all bases are covered.


When it comes to shipping products that fall under ‘Dangerous Goods’, FlavorCloud can provide guidance and shipping expertise to help navigate the complexities. We also give you automatic access to the best shipping rates and routes and limit your costs and potential surcharges while taking care of the whole cross-border shipping process.

Our experience and expertise mean we can relieve the stress (and potential liabilities) of complex areas like landed costs and transporting Dangerous Goods, so you can easily expand your business across the globe.

FlavorCloud has shipping all wrapped up. Learn more about our world’s largest cross-border carrier network