How to ship perfume

Perfume is considered a hazardous material because it contains a high amount of flammable alcohol. Perfume can be shipped by private couriers, such as the United Parcel Service and Federal Express, by making special arrangements with the companies. There are specific packing instructions and the packages are shipped through special hazardous material protocols. The United Stated Postal Service puts more restrictions on the shipment of perfume than the private companies.

Types of Shipping

The United States Postal Service, USPS, has several shipping options of varying cost and delivery times. The quickest way to ship parcels is with express mail, which can arrive to a domestic destination overnight. Priority mail guarantees three-day delivery domestically and 10 days international. Parcel post is the slowest and most economical way to ship small or large parcels, but has no guaranteed delivery time.

Priority Mail

Priority mail, which can take one to three days, is delivered by air transport. Because perfume is on the restricted list of hazardous materials for air transport, perfume cannot be shipped via priority mail. The mailer is responsible for the contents of the package being sent and can be fined for attempting to ship perfume by priority mail.

Parcel Post

Parcel Post is delivered by ground transportation and can be used to ship perfume. The USPS requires that the perfume bottle is contained in a sealed plastic bag and that the outside of the box is clearly marked liquid. The mailer must also declare that perfume is in the box and provide a value for the item.

International Post

USPS’s international post service cannot be used to ship perfume because international packages are transported by air. In addition to the restriction of the USPS, many foreign governments do not allow shipments of perfume and will detain perfume bottles at the customs border. The only way to ship perfume internationally is through private companies and the cost can be many times more than the actual perfume.

Perfume is considered a hazardous material because it contains a high amount of flammable alcohol. Perfume can be shipped by private couriers, such as the United Parcel Service and Federal Express, by making special arrangements with the companies. There are specific packing instructions and the packages are shipped through special hazardous material protocols. The United Stated Postal Service puts more restrictions on the shipment of perfume than the private companies.

Types of Shipping

The United States Postal Service, USPS, has several shipping options of varying cost and delivery times. The quickest way to ship parcels is with express mail, which can arrive to a domestic destination overnight. Priority mail guarantees three-day delivery domestically and 10 days international. Parcel post is the slowest and most economical way to ship small or large parcels, but has no guaranteed delivery time.

Priority Mail

Priority mail, which can take one to three days, is delivered by air transport. Because perfume is on the restricted list of hazardous materials for air transport, perfume cannot be shipped via priority mail. The mailer is responsible for the contents of the package being sent and can be fined for attempting to ship perfume by priority mail.

Parcel Post

Parcel Post is delivered by ground transportation and can be used to ship perfume. The USPS requires that the perfume bottle is contained in a sealed plastic bag and that the outside of the box is clearly marked liquid. The mailer must also declare that perfume is in the box and provide a value for the item.

International Post

USPS’s international post service cannot be used to ship perfume because international packages are transported by air. In addition to the restriction of the USPS, many foreign governments do not allow shipments of perfume and will detain perfume bottles at the customs border. The only way to ship perfume internationally is through private companies and the cost can be many times more than the actual perfume.

How to ship perfume

Perfumes and liquid fragrances are lightweight items that can fit into smaller packages. Therefore, your best option for shipping items like these is to ship with the US Postal Service. USPS will give you the best mix of affordable rates and fast delivery times. In fact, USPS specializes in delivering smaller, lightweight packages such as boxes containing fragrances. FedEx is generally best for overnight shipping and sending perishable items like frozen food, while UPS focuses on delivering large, heavy parcels.

Save Money on Shipping Fragrances with Shipping Software

As it the case with shipping anything else, you’ll save the most money when you use shipping software to buy postage online for your packages containing fragrances. The best shipping software options allow you to access the deepest level of USPS discounts, known as Commercial Pricing. These savings can be as high as 90% off what you would pay for shipping at the Post Office. Plus, who wants to wait in line at the Post Office, anyway?

Which USPS Mail Class Should I Use?

When shipping perfumes or other liquid fragrances, USPS restricts shippers to ground transportation only. Therefore, you will need to use the mail class Parcel Select Ground (the similar service at the Post Office is Retail Ground, and it’s more expensive than Parcel Select). That being said, you may be eligible to ship perfumes via air services such as First Class Package or Priority Mail, if you meet the following exceptions:

  • When you meet all the criteria to mail under the Excepted Quantity provision (see Pub 52, 337 and Packaging Instruction 10B)
  • When you obtain a written authorization to mail under an air-eligible ethanol authorization (see Pub 52, 343.27 and Packaging Instruction 3D)

Following the Necessary Steps

Since USPS considers perfumes and fragrances to be a type of hazardous material, we’ve listed out some guidelines for you to follow in order to ship them properly:

  • For surface transportation, affix a Limited Quantity Label onto your package
  • You’ll need to obtain written authorization from USPS to ship First Class Package, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express
    • Shippers must submit a letter of request to USPS’ manager of Product Classification. The request must include a list of each specific product to be mailed under the authorization, an MSDS for each product, the office of mailing, and expected frequency and quantity of mailings.
    • Send your letter to:
      • MANAGER, PRODUCT CLASSIFICATION, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
      • 475 L’ENFANT PLAZA SW RM 4446
      • WASHINGTON DC 20260-5015

      Pro Tip: You’ll notice that shipping perfume with an air transportation service such as Priority Mail is a huge headache! Therefore, we suggest playing it safe and sticking to Parcel Select Ground or Retail Ground.

      You Can’t Ship Perfume or Cologne Internationally

      Even though you can ship perfumes and colognes anywhere in the United States without any problems, the same doesn’t go for international destinations. Since they are considered flammable hazardous materials, USPS strictly prohibits the international shipment of liquid fragrances.

      Packaging Perfumes and Other Liquid Fragrances

      More often than not, perfumes and colognes come inside of glass bottles. Glass helps a fragrance retain its aromas, while plastic would absorb some of the scent molecules, making the fragrance smell different over time. That being said, glass is one of the most fragile items you can ship. Therefore, properly packaging your fragrance bottle is essential to make sure it doesn’t incur damage during transit.

      We highly suggest that you use custom-branded packaging to encase your fragrances bottles. This will add another layer of protection around your bottle, and it will also reinforce your brand. It’s a win-win situation! You can place your fragrance bottle inside your custom-branded box, and then place that box inside either a larger corrugated box or poly mailer.

      Even if you use custom packaging, there will still be a lot of room for your perfume bottle to move around inside your package. So, if you want to play it extra safe, we recommend that you add extra packing material to help fill the void inside your package. Bubble wrap is a great kind of packing material. If you want to be super professional about it, you can even spring for custom-molded package inserts.

      Don’t Forget to Include Insurance (If You Don’t Already Have It)

      When you buy postage online with shipping software, some USPS mail classes such as Priority Mail come with $100 of built in insurance. However, other services such as First Class Package and Parcel Select Ground/Retail Ground don’t! Therefore, if you’re shipping either First Class Package or Parcel Select Ground, it’s always a good idea to protect your packages with shipping insurance.

      Remember: most perfume and fragrance bottles are fragile. Shipping insurance only costs a dollar or so on top of your cost of postage. It’s well worth it in case your package disappears, or if your perfume bottles undergo damage during transit. You can thank us later.

      How to ship perfume

      While you may be able to sell perfume online easily, shipping it to its destination through the U.S. Postal Service may turn out to be a tricky proposition. Perfumes, colognes and fragrances are typically manufactured by combining aromatic oils with alcohol. When exposed to changes in temperature or atmospheric pressure, the alcoholic components can become unstable and therefore, hazardous while being shipped via air. Read on to learn more about shipping perfumes, colognes and fragrances, all seemingly innocuous merchandise.

      Packaging Your Fragrances Properly

      When shipping perfume bottles with the USPS, you need to take the time and care to prepare your shipments correctly to ensure they arrive in the hands of your customers in one piece. Perfume bottles are fragile and can be shattered in transit, if not packed carefully.

      • Wrap the bottle in several layers of bubble wrap and tape it around the bottle to create a cushion.
      • Place the wrapped bottle inside a sturdy, small box with at least 4 inches of space all around the bottle.
      • If packing more than 1 bottle in the same box, make sure there is plenty of space in between the bottles and that they don’t touch each other.
      • Fill any extra space with packing peanuts, shredded newspaper or air filled shipping pillows. Tape the box shut.
      • Once taped shut, shake the box lightly. You should not hear anything moving around inside the box.
      • For best results, put the recipient’s name and address inside the box as well.

      What USPS Mail Class Should I Use To Ship Perfume?

      The USPS allows perfume to be shipped within the United States via ground transportation only. Parcel Select is the most common method to ship perfume, since other mail classes such as Priority Mail and Express Mail involve transportation of packages by air. This also means that perfumes, colognes and fragrances cannot be shipped to Canada, Hawaii or internationally, due to lack of ground transportation to these destinations.

      Important Note! Remember to print ‘ORM-D Parcel Select’ and ‘Surface Only’ on the outside of your package, so the USPS employees know that you’re shipping perfume.

      What Happens If I Accidentally Ship Perfume To An Overseas Destination?

      If you accidentally end up shipping perfume that doesn’t comply with the USPS rules, one possibility is that your package could be destroyed by the destination country’s custom authorities or that it may arrive empty at its destination. In many cases, your package could arrive in good condition but it is best to follow the USPS guidelines to be on the safe side.

      Shipping perfume is allowed, but e-Commerce sellers should be careful when shipping it to their customers. The USPS regulations are in place for a reason, so take the time to familiarize yourself with them.

      Fragrances are a profitable item to sell on eBay, but shipping them through the U.S. Postal Service can get tricky because they are flammable and hazardous. Perfume, cologne, and fragrances in general are made from aromatic oils blended with alcohol. Because fragrances are a common household item, you may not consider them as a hazardous liquid. However, when fragrances are subjected to temperature changes or atmospheric pressure, the alcohol ingredients can become a volatile and hazardous substance.

      Proper Packaging is Key
      When eBay sellers are shipping fragrances, you must be sure to package them carefully. Glass bottles can shatter in transit if not packaged correctly. Always wrap glass fragrance bottles in several layers of bubble wrap. Then, set the wrapped bottle inside a box with at least 4 inches of space between the wrapped bottle and the box. Fill in the space with packing peanuts or shredded newspaper. If shipping multiple bottles, wrap each bottle in bubble wrap individually. Make sure there is plenty of space between each bottle inside the box and ensure the different bottles don’t touch each other. Fill in all the empty areas with plenty of packing peanuts. Once the box is closed and taped properly, try shaking it lightly — you should not hear anything moving around inside the box.

      USPS Mail Classes to Use
      The USPS only allows fragrances to be shipped by ground methods of transportation such as Parcel Post. USPS regulations also require your package to be labeled with the words “ORM-D Parcel Post” clearly written on the outside of the box.

      Due of their flammable nature, they may not be shipped by air via expedited services such as Priority Mail or Express Mail. And since there are no ground shipping options to international destinations (including Canada), fragrances cannot be shipped internationally. Also, shipping fragrances to Hawaii is not permitted since there are no ground shipping options to the islands.

      If you are selling empty collectible perfume bottles, the rules are not as strict. The bottles are empty, and therefore, not flammable or hazardous. Just make sure you package the bottles with care as described above. The fragrance bottles are still fragile and need special attention.

      About the Author
      Selling on eBay since 2003, Suzanne Wells aka The eBay Selling Coach has sold over 17,000 items as a one person operation and has achieved the status of Silver Level Power Seller on eBay. Suzanne’s book, The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling helps eBay sellers learn what products to sell, where to find them and how to successfully market on eBay.

      How to ship perfume

      A common question is if it is possible to ship perfume overseas and if so how can it be shipped. In this guide we will answer this question and you will be able to find out how you can pack a perfume bottle so that it satisfies the postal company, courier or mailing firm if you wish to ship it internationally.

      How do couriers classify Perfumes for shipping purposes?

      The main courier companies such as FedEx, USPS, TNT and DHL classify perfume as a dangerous good (HAZMAT). This is because fragrances and perfumes usually contain alcohol, which is a flammable liquid – it can catch fire.

      They are classified as UN 1266 which states “PERFUMERY PRODUCTS with flammable solvents (having a flash- point below 23 °C and viscous according to 2.2.3.1.4) (vapour pressure at 50 °C not more than 110 kPa)

      What does this mean?

      All dangerous goods that are shipped by airmail have to be packaged according to IATA and ICAO regulations and a proper declaration about the item inside made.

      How do I correctly pack perfume for shipping?

      If you are intending to pack perfume for sending overseas you need to ensure that it is packaged properly.

      1. Ensure that the lid of the bottle or container is fixed securely to avoid leaks.
      2. Pack the item in a leak-proof inner package.
      3. Place the inner package inside a rigid outside package like a box.
      4. Ensure that any space around the inner package is filled with packing filler to remove any empty space to avoid the package moving around inside.
      5. Secure the outer package.
      6. Mark on the outer package what the parcel contains.

      How do I make an IATA dangerous good declaration?

      If you need to fill out a declaration form you can find out more information and download the form from the IATA here.

      Does this mean I can buy perfume with international shipping?

      Yes, many fragrance stores will ship internationally as they know how to properly pack and ship the perfumes to each country. There may be an extra cost to cover any surcharges from the shipping companies to cover the extra costs for the declaration, although in our experience many shops do not charge extra. You can read our guide to buying perfume internationally.

      Have you shipped perfume internationally, do you have any experiences you wish to share with other? Please leave them in the comments section below. Happy international shopping!

      How to ship perfume

      Parcel carriers have stringent rules in place for the transport of alcohol-based perfumes and colognes. If you are working with a third-party order fulfillment provider, they should be able to easily help you choose the best shipping options for your product; however, if you are handling fulfillment in-house, you will want to carefully review the policies that the individual carriers have in place for alcohol-based perfumes and colognes.

      Helpful Resources: Carrier Guidelines for Shipping Perfume and Cologne

      A few resources that you may find helpful:

        notes that alcohol-based perfumes and colognes may not be shipped internationally using their service offerings and may be shipped domestically only via ground-based services (see: USPS packing and shipping guidelines for more information).
      • FedEx and DHL both classify colognes and perfumes as “dangerous goods” and restrict their handling (see: FedEx and DHL guidelines for more information).
      • Ditto for UPS (see: UPS Beginner’s Guide to Perfume Shipping for more information).

      Tips and Tricks: How to Store, Pack, and Ship Perfumes and Colognes

      Whether you are fulfilling orders in-house or partnering with an order fulfillment provider, consider these tips for a smooth and compliant shipping experience:

      • Know Your Product – Depending on your product and your carrier of choice, you may need to list ingredients and/or identify products as hazardous on the parcel, the shipping label, and/or other shipping documents (such as customs forms). Further, you may be prohibited from using certain service classes.
      • Select the Right Box – Choose a box that is slightly larger than your product so that you will be able to adequately wrap perfume or cologne bottles in protective materials. Consider packaging that clearly denotes the item as “fragile” and shows the appropriate orientation for the parcel.
      • Protect Your Product – High-quality bubble wrap or heavy kraft paper tend to be the best void fill for perfume and cologne. Naturally, leakage is sometimes a problem with liquids, so consider individually bagging products and/or using adhesive strips across their tops to prevent and contain leaks and their resulting damage.
      • Plan for Higher Shipping Costs – Because of the fragility and hazardous nature of perfume and cologne, the labor, packaging materials, and shipping costs inherent to the category tend to be higher than you might think. When estimating shipping costs, remember to consider both the actual and the dimensional (volumetric) weight of the package – for most carriers, dimensional weight adjustments (which can significantly increase the cost of shipping) will be made if the actual package weight is over one pound.

      Need Help?

      If your fragrance business is growing rapidly, IronLinx can assist with:

      • Navigating the regulatory challenges inherent to shipping alcohol-based products
      • Designing and implementing the best strategies for shipping your product
      • Optimizing your packaging materials
      • Offering fast and affordable shipping options to your customers
      • Positioning your business to scale more seamlessly

      To learn more about the special handling and packaging needs of beauty and cosmetics items or our unique capabilities in the area of beauty and cosmetics order fulfillment, please reach out to us via our contact form. We look forward to speaking with you.

      How to ship perfume

      Because of their flammable nature and containers usually made of glass, safety precautions must be observed when packing and shipping bottles of perfume to make sure the recipient receives them on time and in good condition. Here are some guidelines on packing and shipping perfume.

      Before packing your perfume for shipping, check if there are any restrictions in your country or the country shipping to with regards to transporting perfume. Perfume is considered hazardous material and has some restrictions on shipping it. Make sure you comply with these regulations to avoid hassles such as your package getting confiscated in customs.

      There is also regulations on the number of perfumes you can ship. Shipping in large quantities may require necessary permits and documentation.

      Perfumes are best shipped in their original boxes, which are designed to provide optimum protection for the perfume bottle and keep it in place.

      In case the original boxes are not available, wrap each perfume bottle individually in generous layers of bubble wrap or newspaper especially if packing several bottles in one package.
      This will prevent the bottles from breaking in case they bump against each other while in transit.

      Use an appropriately sized shipping box for your perfume. It should not be too big or to small for the perfume and allows extra space for sufficient amounts of packing material.

      When shipping perfume as gift sets, make sure that the items do not move around inside the box by taping down each item to the holding tray.

      Place the boxed perfume bottles inside the shipping container. Fill empty spaces with packing materials to prevent movement.

      Close the shipping box and seal with packing tape. Address and label the package and take to the post office or your choice of the shipping company.

      Get enough insurance on your package to cover the costs if something should happen and your bottles break.