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, 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 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.
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.