How can I ship perfume, nail polish etc abroad from the UK?
September 28, 2012 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to ship perfume and nail polish abroad from the UK? People are telling me there isn't but I don't quite believe them.

I need to send some girlie chemicals to Germany from the UK. Specifically: several bottles of perfume and nail polish and a few aerosols (which are not so important). The perfume bottles are half used and don't have the original packaging.

I too the package to Mail Boxes Etc this morning and they said that they can't send perfume, aerosols or anything flammable. They also said that all packages are scanned and if there are any restricted items then they are returned and they have to pay a fine.

I looked on the Post Office website and it says that you can't send perfumes or aftershaves which are classed as flammable or nail varnish. It seems that some perfumes are OK to send if the alcohol content is low enough but as I don't have the boxes I can't tell if this applies to what I'm sending.

Is there some way round this? There must be, right? It's my understanding that these items would be OK in checked baggage on a flight so why should posting be any different?
posted by neilb449 to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Contact Federal Express in Germany and ask about Dangerous Goods shipping.
posted by deanc at 6:55 AM on September 28, 2012

Check over at the MakeupAlley forums -- lots of international swapping of used cosmetics and perfume over there. They can advise you exactly how to package and ship your stuff to get it through international post.
posted by apparently at 7:03 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

In casually skimming the Interwebs on this subject, I'm finding a lot of folks complaining that the reason are 1.) fragrance is considered dangerous (flammable, etc) and 2.) that it could be counterfiet and/or subject to duties.

As for used stuff, it's not sealed, it's suspect and it's weird.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:04 AM on September 28, 2012

You may want to check for ground shipment (train, truck, car, boat, etc.) vs. air shipping. Most flammable items will not be shipped if it flies.
posted by Yellow at 7:05 AM on September 28, 2012

I've received cosmetics back the other way - I bought some perfume online from Spain years ago and it was shipped to me in a regular box. However, there was nothing on the box to indicate the contents and it was well-padded to avoid shaking in transit.

Nail varnish I don't know about. Have you looked on e-shop sites that post from the UK overseas and see how they post them abroad?
posted by mippy at 7:06 AM on September 28, 2012

Oh - you could try the Basenotes forum for advice - there's an active trading community on there so they will probably have experience of posting perfume overseas.
posted by mippy at 7:07 AM on September 28, 2012

A lot of people send this kind of thing by packing it very well, and saying that it's makeup - not disclosing that it's perfume / nail polish. I've never heard of anything bad happening - either to the package or the sender. I am pretty sure this is standard practice on makeupalley.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:56 AM on September 28, 2012

I'm involved in active trading on Basenotes and other split/swap fragrance forums. What you do is you pack it really well, use parafilm to seal the sprayers and the join between the sprayer and the bottle, use layers and layers of bubble wrap, and write "cosmetics" on the customs declaration. I have also received items labeled "glass collectibles". One forum member was known to use the declaration "snow globes" but I have not tried that myself as it seems a bit flippant.

This blog post by one of my favorite swappers is the state of the art for perfume packaging advice.
posted by matildaben at 10:02 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I ended up just shipping it using the Post Office, not filling in any customs forms and not mentioning anything about the makeup/perfume. It took a long time (around 14 days) but the package eventually arrived safe and sound!
posted by neilb449 at 12:27 PM on October 28, 2012

To anyone reading this - you can no longer send nail polish or perfume containing alcohol from the UK to overseas.

In theory, you could wrap it well and obfuscate the contents, but if they discover what it is, it will be destroyed without compensation.
posted by mippy at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2013

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