Does It Cost More To Be A Woman In Malaysia?

Does It Cost More To Be A Woman In Malaysia?

It’s International Women’s Day, and the fairer sex has been fighting for gender equality for decades. The fight for gender equality has been an uphill battle, not just for equality in opportunities and wages, but even down to something as simple as eradicating gender pricing.

From shampoo to shavers, women often unknowingly fork out more than their male counterparts for everyday items due to gender pricing.

Many shoppers may not even be aware of this, because women’s products are often placed separately from the men’s. Our survey at two popular personal care chains however, showed that this phenomenon is not only real, it also extends across various criteria of everyday personal care items, from skincare to haircare, to hygiene.

Not convinced? Just check out these 10 women’s toiletries that cost more than men’s!

1. Shampoo

Maintaining a crowning glory is a pricier proposition for women than for men.

While on the surface, the price for a bottle of shampoo for men seem to cost more, men’s shampoo bottles tend to come in larger sizes than women’s.

Clear Shampoo (Icy Cool Menthol)
350ml = RM17.50
1ml = 5 cents
L’Oreal Elseve Shampoo Smooth Intense
170ml = RM10.90
1m = 6.4 cents

For instance, based on the above example, every millimetre (ml) of men’s shampoo costs five cents, while every ml of women’s shampoo costs (approximately) 6.4 cents.

It is worth noting that haircare and shampoo products designed specifically for men are rather limited in the local market. However, going by the above example, a woman would have to fork out an average RM22.40 for a 350ml bottle of shampoo – that’s RM4.90 more than what a man would have to pay for the same volume of hair shampoo.

Also, let’s not get started on conditioners and hair mask, which many men (or at least, the ones I know of) do not bother to use.

2. Hair dye

Even colouring your tresses will cost you more if you’re a woman. Although to be fair, most women do tend to have longer hair than men, so perhaps a heftier price tag is justifiable.

Gatsby Hair Color Remake
200g = RM24.90
1g = 12 cents
L'Oreal Paris Excellence Fashion
300g = RM41
1g = 14 cents

Based on the above comparison, men pay just RM36 for 300g of hair colour, RM5 less than what their female counterparts are paying for a similar product.

3. Hair wax

Love a spunky hairdo? So do we! But if you’re a girl and you like to freshen up your look with some spikes or a cute pixie cut, then prepared to fork out more for hair wax!

Gatsby Style Wax Mega Hold
80g = RM17.90
10g = RM2.24
Lucido-L Arrange Hair Wax
60g = RM19.90
10g = RM3.32

The price of hair wax for men is not only cheaper, it also comes with in more volume. 

Take the above comparison for instance – it costs approximately RM2.24 for every 10g of hair wax for men, and approximately RM3.32 for every 10g of hair wax for women.

This means that a woman would have to pay RM26.60 – RM8.70 more than what a man would be paying – for 80g of wax.

4. Cleanser

When it comes to the art of face-washing, we ladies take it pretty seriously and facial cleansers form an essential part of any daily skin care routine.

Facial cleansers are not cheap to begin with, and they cost you roughly 45% more if you are a woman.

Here is a comparison of two facial cleansers for males and females, respectively, from the same brand:

L’oreal Men Expert White Oil Control Deep Clear
100ml = RM15.20
L'oreal Hydra Fresh Anti-shine Foam
100ml = RM22.09

Oil control is the main element in both cleansers, but ladies will have to spend an approximately RM6.90 more for shine-free skin. And these are just drug-store brands.

5. Facial scrub

If it’s glowing and radiant skin you’re after, you’re going to have to exfoliate with a facial scrub quite regularly.

Ladies who desire healthier, smoother and more even-toned skin will need to cough up RM1.55 more for a tube of facial scrub from Garnier compared to their male counterpart for a similar product.

Garnier Men Turbo Light Blackheads Icy Scrub
100ml = RM11.80
Pure Active Scrub
100ml = RM13.35

6. Moisturiser

Moisturisers are essential for keeping your skin soft and supple, and provide an essential finishing touch to any skincare regime.

The bad news? There is a marked difference in pricing when it comes to moisturisers for women compared to their male versions.

L'Oreal Men Expert Men Hydra Energetic Anti Dullness Gel
50ml = RM33.86
L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Total 10
50ml = RM45.23

Based on the example above, ladies who desire brighter and more radiant skin will have to pay RM11.37 or approximately 33.5% more than men who desire the same qualities.

7. Oil-blotters

If you have oily skin, oil blottes are a must-have in your beauty arsenal! You can tote these groovy little oil-absorbing sheets anytime, anywhere to help remove excess oil.

Our research showed that men pay about 14 cents for every sheet of oil-blotter, while women pay an approximately 22 cents per sheet.

Gatsby Oil Clean Sheet
70 sheets = RM9.90
1 sheet = 14 cents
Clean & ClearPink Oil Control Film
50 sheets = RM11.20
1 sheet = 22 cents

For 70 sheets of oil blotters, a woman would have to pay at least RM15.50 – about RM5.60 or 56.5% more than a man for the same product!

8. Lip balm

Lip balms will protect and nourish your lips from the harshest conditions. However, it proves to be harsher on your wallet if you’re a woman.

SimplyMen SPF20 Lip Balm
4.8g = RM8.27
1g = RM1.72
Lipice Tinted Lipbalm Raspberry
3.5g = RM11.50
1g = RM3.30

Based on this comparison, a man pays roughly RM1.72 for every gram (g) of lip balm, while a woman will have to fork out approximately RM3.30 per gram.

For 4.8g of lip balm, a woman will have to pay RM15.80 – more than 90% than their male counterparts for the same volume of balm!

9. Perfume

Smelling good gives you a confidence boost, but also costs roughly 100% more if you’re female!

Dashing Adventure EDT Edge
100ml = RM26.80
1ml = 27 cents
Enchanteur Forever Love Eau De Toilette
50ml = RM27.80
1ml = 56 cent

At least you have the option to forgo this and just go with your natural scent!

10. Razors

Many would agree shaving is a hygienic practice. Perhaps by now you wouldn’t be surprised that razors cost more for women too.

Let’s take a look at how much these male and female versions of Gillette shavers cost:

Gillette Blue3 Disposable Sensitive Skin
4 shavers = RM14.29
1 shaver = RM3.57
Gillette Venus Sensitive Disposables
3 shavers = RM21.81
1 shaver = RM7.27

The verdict? You pay just RM3.57 for a “male” shaver, and RM7.27 (RM3.70 or more than two times more!) for a female one even though they both practically do the same thing (perhaps going feminist is not such a bad idea after all).

While the above list is by no means conclusive, it certainly provides some insight of the disparity in pricing between men and women care products.

In this case, shopping at the men’s isle might be a good idea for womenfolk who want to save a few bucks.

While it might not be a good idea to purchase items like cleansers intended for men (as men’s skin typically has larger pores and very active sebaceous glands), items like lip balm, razors, oil-blotters and hair-dye basically do the same thing either way, so it might be a good idea to purchase the male versions of these items.

Since pay gap between both sexes still very much exist, women must be even more prudent in our spending. By understanding gender pricing, you will have a few more tricks up your sleeve to save and maximise your money.

Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at iMoney!

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