Pink pushes up prices

By Susan Edmunds

Women pay more than men for similar cosmetic products.

Parents Laura Surrich and Mischa Malane get ready for work, with newborn Cara Malane. Photo / Michael Craig
Parents Laura Surrich and Mischa Malane get ready for work, with newborn Cara Malane. Photo / Michael Craig

Is it worth paying more for a razor just because it's pink?

Women often pay more for products such as shampoo, deodorant and razors than men would for similar items.

Men could pick up a L'Oreal Men Expert eye cream roll-on for $17.99 at Countdown this week and facial cleanser in the same range for $7.99. But women won't find a L'Oreal eye cream for less than $24.99, or a cleanser of any kind below $8.99.

At The Warehouse, Radox Shower Gel for men was $3 this week, and the cheapest of the feminine or unisex Radox shower gels was $5.99.

You'll even find razors are a lot cheaper if you're willing to give up pink for a more manly colour.

This week at New World, standard Pams twin-blade razors were available for $3.79 for 12. But if you want the "lady razor" version, you'll pay $2.29 for five.

Victoria University marketing lecturer Yuri Seo said manufacturers were probably banking on the fact that grooming was seen by women as more important, so they were less likely to quibble over prices. He said if more men started to buy products such as moisturisers and facial wash, it could push up the price.

Valentyna Melnyk, of Massey University, said it was likely to be driven by supply and demand. "If a product is less important for men than for women it will be priced cheaper. It boils down to a willingness to pay the price."

She said fragrances aimed at men would often be cheaper for the same volume and brand as the women's version.

This week, Pricespy found a 125ml Davidoff Cool Water for men at $49 but the 100ml women's version was $59. Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men 100ml was $39 and Oscar de la Renta Something Blue for women, in the same size, was $79.

The Warehouse had 50ml of Beckham Instinct eau de toilette for $49 for men and a 30ml women's version for $39.

Auckland woman Laura Surrich said it was unfair. "Even today we're still paid 11 per cent less than men so why do our products have higher prices? If anything it should be the other way around." She said she had more products than her partner but watched the prices. "I try to buy things wholesale or from a cheaper supplier because I try to avoid the cost of the supermarket."

But the answer isn't in swiping your bloke's skincare products. Stephanie Evans, of Oasis Beauty, said although it might not matter if women used items like men's razors, skincare formulated for men would be too harsh. "Men's skin is thicker, they can tolerate more."

She often saw clients who had breakouts or skin that was too dry because they had been using their husband's products.

- Herald on Sunday

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