Can you beat the ‘Pink Tax’ by buying blue? Save up to 67% buying items meant for the opposite sex

Much has been made of the so-called ‘Pink Tax’ whereby women are sometimes charged more than men for similar products. This got us thinking, so we took a deeper look to see if buying an item in a different colour, or one that is marketed for the opposite sex, could save you money – and the results may surprise you…

First, let’s look at razors

Whilst going au naturale might be the most MoneySaving, if you don’t fancy being a super furry animal then you’ll be needing a razor. We’ve all heard that men’s razors are cheaper than women’s, but we wanted to check whether or not this was true.

We’ve compared the cheapest razors like for like where we can at the same supermarket, with the same brand, same number of blades and the same number in the packet where possible. Here’s what we found:

Supermarket/Brand Men's (per razor) Women's (per razor)
Bic at Superdrug 2-blade £1.99, 10 pack (20p)* £2.69, 8 pack (34p)*
Wilkinson Sword at Sainsbury’s 2-blade £2.50, 10 pack (25p) £3, 2x 5 pack (30p)
Gillette at Waitrose 2-blade £3.65, 8 pack (46p)* £2, 2x 4 pack (25p)*
Tesco own brand 5-blade cartridge £7, 1 pack (£7)* £7, 1 pack (£7)*
Asda own brand 2-blade £1, 10 pack (10p)* £1, 10 pack (10p)*
Superdrug own brand 3-blade £2.79, 4 pack (70p)* £2.79, 4 pack (70p)*
Superdrug own brand 5-blade £3.49, 3 pack (£1.16)* £4.29, 3 pack (£1.43)*
Boots own brand 3-blade £2.25, 4 pack (56p)* £1.50, 4 pack (38p)*

Results – up to 41% off if you buy men’s version

Taking a look today compared to when we first investigated this issue in 2016, it's clear to see that brands such as Tesco and Asda have stopped selling some items labelled specifically for men or women, which has made comparison trickier.

We did find that for many of the original products we compared, the cheapest single-bladed or double-bladed options were either no longer available or were the same price - so we dug deeper to see if that was the case for razors with more blades. At Superdrug, a four-pack of triple-bladed razors is the same price for men and women. However, a three-pack of five-bladed disposable razors is 19% cheaper for men, so if you're after a multi-bladed razor do check prices.

For branded razors, two out of three men’s were cheaper than women’s (it would’ve been three out of three, but women's Gillette razors are on offer at Waitrose) by up to 41%, but if you switched to the cheapest unisex own-brand single-bladed razor, you could save even more.

For own-brand razors, three out of five were the same price, one was cheaper for men by 19% and one cheaper for women by 32%. It's worth noting that where we found women's razors to be cheaper, this was only due to in-store offers - without which the razors would either be the same price or more.

Our analysis seems to suggest that both men and women should be vigilant about the cost of razors, and always check offers and prices to be sure they're getting the best deal.

What about other products?

Whilst razors for men and women are both aggressively marketed, we started to think about other products which may be cheaper if bought in the ‘wrong’ gender’s packaging.

Do people really notice if the moisturiser you’ve used is men’s or women’s when you’re outside of your house? Probably not, so we’ve compared some leading and own brands to see the price difference between products.

We picked the cheapest brand which makes both ladies’ and men’s facial moisturiser. Here’s what we found:

Supermarket/Brand Men’s (per 100ml) Women’s (per 100ml)
L’Oreal at Superdrug £8.49 (£16.98)* £4.99 (£9.98)*
Nivea at Tesco £3 (£4)* £2 (£2.67)*
Superdrug own brand  £5.99* £2.99 (£5.98)*
Boots No7 own brand  £9 (£18)* £10*

Results – up to 67% off if you buy women’s version

From the brands we looked at, it could be up to 67% cheaper for men to buy big-brand Nivea rather than Nivea Men in the same supermarket, or 44% cheaper to pick up the missus' favourite No7 product at Boots. We also noted it was sometimes difficult to tell which products were aimed at women as they are often not labelled as such – especially with own brands.

Whilst there may be many big brands out there targeting our faces, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that quite a few are specifically targeting one gender (eg, Bulldog for men, Olay for women), which makes comparison difficult – but see if you can find an own-brand alternative, as you could save. See our Downshift Challenge for more tips.

Are shower gel prices leaving you in a lather?

With even stereotypical men’s brand Lynx selling a women’s shower gel, we thought it was high time to check out the price difference to see who cleans up with the best deals on shower gel.

We looked at brands from the same supermarket or high-street shop that made both a men’s and women’s version and checked their cost per 100ml of product to see who saves the most. Here’s what we found:

Supermarket/Brand Men’s (per 100ml) Women’s (per 100ml)
Nivea at Superdrug £2 (40p)* £1.99 (80p)*
Lynx at Asda £1 (40p)* 95p (38p)*
Dove at Superdrug £2.79 (£1.12)* £1.31 (52p)*
Radox at Asda  £1 (40p)* £1 (40p)*
Superdrug own brand 59p (24p)* 99p (40p)*
Boots own brand 75p (30p)* 75p (30p)*
Asda own brand 65p (26p)* 65p (26p)*

Results – up to 54% off if you buy women’s version

Nivea is up to 50% cheaper if you buy the men’s sensitive version rather than the women’s. Radox prices were even at Asda, but if you’re a woman buying Dove at Superdrug, you can rest assured your shower gel is 54% cheaper than the men’s version.

We were encouraged that four out of the seven shower gel combinations we looked at were the same price or very similar for the men’s and ladies’ versions, but there are still further savings to be had if you switch to own brand.

Final verdict

Of the 19 products we looked at, five were cheaper for men, eight were cheaper for women and six were the same price. Women were more likely to be charged more for razors, but men were more likely to be charged more for moisturiser and shower gel.

So if you don’t mind using a product aimed at the opposite sex, the best way to save is to always compare prices of both options before buying.

What’s the worst example of unexpected pricing differences you’ve seen? Tell us in the comments below, on Twitter @MSE_Deals or on Facebook.