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Woman taking picture of products that have the pink tax

Have you heard of the “pink tax?” It’s what economists call the higher prices on certain products marketed to women. Many everyday products, including razors, shampoo, body lotions and blue jeans, cost more for the “women’s” version than the men’s or gender-neutral version.

For example, women’s shampoo costs, on average, almost 50 percent more than men’s, while jeans are 10 percent more expensive. And it’s not just products. The pink tax also applies to services, such as dry cleaning and haircuts. In all, the pink tax can cost women almost $1,500 more per year for basic necessities. Fortunately there are several things you can do to avoid the pink tax. Let’s take a look:

Woman taking picture of products that have the pink taxComparison Shop

Next time you’re stocking up on toiletries, check the prices on what you usually buy and compare them to the men’s versions. You’ll probably be surprised to see you’ve been paying the pink tax without realizing it. Now that you know, you can shop more carefully and choose brands that don’t charge more for the women’s version of products.

Buy Generic or Store Brands

You’ll need to read labels and compare ingredients, but when you do, you’ll see that the formulas for no-name store brands often match their name-brand counterparts. Buying generic can be a great way to save because you’re avoiding the markup caused by fancy packaging and marketing costs.

Use DIY Versions of Products

Want to really save money on personal care items? Consider using natural alternatives for certain products. Such as:

  • Coconut oil or olive oil instead of makeup remover and moisturizer
  • Brown sugar crystals or sea salt mixed with oil for body scrub
  • Plain yogurt mixed with honey for a moisturizing facial mask

These are just a few ideas. Search ‘DIY beauty’ on Pinterest to find hundreds of ways to use natural products in place of store-bought toiletries.

Call it Out

Recently, a photo went viral that perfectly captures the pink tax. Snapped by a customer at ACE Hardware, it shows two small toiletry kits, with identical contents. There’s only one difference. One case is blue and one is pink. Guess which one cost over $2 more! That’s right. The pink version cost $2.40 more than the blue version.

When you see obvious price discrepancies like this, bring them to the store’s — and the internet’s attention — by snapping and posting a picture on social media. Bringing awareness to the issue will help drive retailers toward price parity.

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