Do women pay more for toiletries than men do? Is girls’ clothing more expensive than boys’?

‘Pink Tax’ is a nickname for the unofficial levy found on products designed for females, even though the equivalent men’s products are very similar (if not exactly the same). According to UK parenting site Channel Mum, 97% of parents want Pink Tax to be stamped out, either with a voluntary code of conduct or by making it illegal.

We wanted to find out if it’s really true that women pay more for everyday items, and if so, which things are they being charged extra for?

We looked at the price of health and beauty products and children’s clothing (look at the bottom of the page for our full methodology explaining how we did our calculations) and found that, despite recent pushes for equality, women and girls are still being charged Pink Tax on everyday essentials, from deodorant to school uniforms. Explore our findings below.

Battle of the Sexes: Health and Beauty products

For many of us, deodorant, razors, and moisturiser are essential ingredients in our daily routine – but who is paying more to keep themselves groomed?

It turns out that women splash out extra cash for each of these items, with the biggest mark-up a whopping 34% Pink Tax on the price of ladies’ face cream:

Pink Tax, Tax Refunds, Toiletry Tax


Men VS Women: Toiletry tax?  

Whose beauty regime is more expensive? Spot the difference between the average price of men’s and women’s health and beauty products:

4 pack of disposable razors:
Women’s: £3.38
Men’s: £3.18
Women’s razors are 6.28% more expensive

Deodorant (250ml)
Women’s: £2.08
Men’s: £1.88
Women’s deodorant is 10.63% more expensive

Facial moisturiser (50ml)
Women’s: £10.77
Men’s: £8.02
Women’s moisturiser is 34.28% more expensive

Over the course of a year, these differences can quickly add up, especially for those who purchase toiletries on a monthly or weekly basis.

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Price of being a girl: Kid’s clothing and uniforms

It seems the discrimination stems earlier than adulthood: two thirds of parents say there’s a kid’s ‘gender price gap’, according to Channel Mum. So, how are little girls being affected by Pink Tax?

Pink tax on childrens' clothing

‘Pink Tax’: Children’s clothing prices

According to Channel Mum, 71% of parents believe girls are charged more. Check out the size of Pink Tax on the average price of children’s school uniforms and clothing:

School shirts and polos

Girls’: £9
Boys’: £8.76
Girls’ school shirts are 2.73% more expensive

School trousers
Girls’: £9.35
Boys’: £9.23
Girls’ school trousers are 1.30% more expensive

5 pack of underwear
Girls’: £6.93
Boys’: £6.55
Girls’ underwear is 5.8% more expensive

5 pack of socks
Girls’: £5.44
Boys’: £5.30
Girls’ underwear is 2.64% more expensive

Though it may be subtle, there’s a clear difference between the price of boys’ and girls’ clothing – and parents aren’t willing to stand for it.

Channel Mum found that one third of mums and dads say they’re boycotting stores that use gender-based pricing. And to help prevent stores from profiting off Pink Tax, 37% want kid’s items to be gender-neutral.

What’s more luxurious: Jaffa Cakes or tampons?

Currently, women’s sanitary products (including tampons) are taxed at a reduced rate of 5%, which cannot be any lower, as dictated by EU law.

However, there are many other products that are subject to zero-rate VAT, which means we don’t pay any tax on them. This dates back to consumption tax laws passed between 1940 and 1973, when certain things that were deemed as basic household items (as opposed to luxuries) became tax exempt.

The tampon tax

What’s more of a ‘household basic’ than a tampon?

We currently pay 5% tax on all women’s sanitary products, including tampons. But (because the government deemed them to be ‘household basics’ back in the 1970s) we don’t pay any tax on:

  • Chocolate chip biscuits
  • Jaffa cakes
  • Mousse
  • Chocolate spread
  • Toffee apples
  • Milk shakes
  • Tortillas
  • Roasted nuts
  • Crocodile meat
  • Marshmallow teacakes
  • Pitta bread
  • Bingo
  • Chickpeas
  • Houseboat moorings
  • Printing leaflets

While the government has pledged to donate the VAT raised by tampons and sanitary towels to women’s charities, many believe they’re essential items that shouldn’t be taxed at all. Several supermarkets have cut prices on sanitary products, but tampon tax is still a reality that women in the UK must face every single month.

From the classroom to the workplace and beyond, it’s clear that Pink Tax is still plaguing girls and women throughout all stages of life. Have you noticed a disparity when doing the weekly shop? Tell us your story @RIFTtaxrefunds or on our Facebook page.


We reviewed the price of men’s and women’s toiletries across six retailers: Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Boots, and Superdrug, for the following products:

  • Disposable razors (3 blades, 4 pack)
  • Deodorant (250ml)
  • Face moisturiser (50ml)
  • Shaving gel (200ml)
  • Face wash (150ml)

We also looked at the price of children’s clothing across four retailers: Asda, Marks and Spencer, Matalan and Next, for the following products:

  • Underwear (knickers and briefs 5 pack)
  • Socks (5 pack)
  • School shirts and polo t-shirts
  • School trousers

We calculated the average cost of each product for each specific retailer and used this data to calculate the overall average for each of the products across all the retailers.

From the classroom to the workplace and beyond, it’s clear that Pink Tax is still plaguing girls and women throughout all stages of life. As expert tax rebate and tax return providers, we want to know if you’ve noticed a disparity when doing the weekly shop –tell us your story @RIFTtaxrefunds or on our Facebook page.

For a full list of sources, please contact Julia Scott at RIFT Group.