Gender-related cost discrepancies in a cohort of 110 facial moisturizers

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Dec;18(6):1765-1766. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12954. Epub 2019 Apr 15.


Background: Gender-related price inequalities for over-the-counter dermatologic products such as shampoos and conditioners, razors, deodorants, and lotions remain prevalent in the marketplace. This trend has also been found to apply to topical minoxidil, a common treatment for male and female pattern hair loss.

Objective: We sought to identify the gender-related price discrepancies of facial moisturizers, which are routinely recommended by dermatologists.

Methods: Three online retailers (Amazon, Target, and Walmart) were surveyed for available facial moisturizers in October 2018. Facial moisturizers were classified as men's, women's, or gender-neutral based on three specific marketing variables: language, container color/graphics, and container curvature/shape.

Results: In total, 110 facial moisturizers were included in this analysis. Of the 54 facial moisturizers evaluated for men, 47 (87%) contained the word "men" within the marketing language, while only three of 56 (5.4%) facial moisturizers targeted at women were explicitly labeled "for women." No statistically significant difference was found between the number of facial moisturizers listed as fragrance-free, SPF-containing, anti-aging, or those labeled as sensitive, hypoallergenic, or dermatologist recommended between the two groups. However, facial moisturizers marketed to women were on average $3.09 more per ounce than those marketed to men. A two-tailed t test revealed a statistically significant difference between the price per ounce of facial moisturizers for men ($6.20) and those for women ($9.29) (P = 0.013).

Conclusion: Facial moisturizers marketed to women were found to be significantly more expensive than comparable facial moisturizers marketed to men.

Keywords: cosmetics; cost; facial moisturizers; gender; general dermatology; pink tax.

MeSH terms

  • Face
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexism / economics*
  • Skin Cream / economics*