Ever Hear of the Pink Tax? If Not, You Might Be Paying it Unknowingly

Woman holding a pink sudsy loofa.
Aileen Perilla/ Penny Hoarder

March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, and its focus is on forging a more gender-balanced world..

Today and throughout the year, there are many ways people can work to improve the landscape for women, including helping to fight inequities that put women at a financial disadvantage.

For instance, many people in the U.S pay a “pink tax” on some personal hygiene and toiletry products, like razors and shaving cream.

The term “pink tax” refers to products with pink or flowery packaging that brands believe will appeal to women.

The product inside is often identical to the company’s product designed for men, but it costs more.

The pink tax also extends to products designed for managing menstruation. Although the FDA considers tampons and pads medical devices, some states classify them as a luxury item rather than a tax-exempt necessity (10 states and the District of Columbia do not currently tax menstrual products).

Up close photo of woman shaves her leg.
Aileen Perilla/ Penny Hoarder

There’s not much you can do if your state taxes these personal-hygiene products but, there is another way to avoid the pink tax on other items.

Next time you’re stocking up on razors, deodorant and other toiletries, shop by price, not packaging.

We did a little comparison shopping to learn which brands sell products to men for at a far lower price point than products for women.

Suave shampoos were priced about the same, but Dove’s Men + Care line cost less than the same products for women.

The price disparity isn’t always in favor of men, though. We found that a men’s razor was almost $14 more than the women’s version.

The bottom line? It pays to shop around no matter what your gender.

Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.