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Why do her products cost more than his?

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
When you go to the drugstore, do you ever wonder what the difference is between his and her products?Consumer Reports says one big difference may be price. Consumer Specialist Ric Romero teamed up with Consumer Reports to find out why.

Companies selling drug store products say they have reasons for charging more to women than men but you be the judge if you can swallow those reasons or not.

Americans spend more than $35 billion a year in drugstores, and that doesn't even include prescriptions. But could women be spending more than men on certain products?

Consumer Reports' Tod Marks decided to visit several drugstores to find out.

"We found price differences of as much as 50 percent on certain everyday items, and women came out the loser most of the time," said Tod.

Shaving cream, for example. Barbasol Original for men costs about 15 cents per ounce. But Barbasol's Pure Silk for women costs almost twice as much. What gives?

"They told me that women, in fact, like to shave in the shower and that poses an interesting problem. They wanted a can that didn't rust. They wanted a can that was tall and thin. They wanted a can that wouldn't get doused with water. So they had to make a special cap. All those things adding to the cost," explained Tod.

Tod found women's eye creams cost more, too. Neutrogena's Ageless Essentials Continuous Hydration Eye Cream for women costs $14.99. The men's Hydrating Eye Reviver costs $9.99, amounting to a $5 difference.

"We were told, for example, that the women's formulation is a 'water-in-oil' product and the men's is an 'oil-in-water.' Now that may not seem like a big deal to us, but it was a big deal to the company," Tod said.

Also, there are two pain relievers from Excedrin. Both contain exactly the same active ingredients, but at one drugstore, the Excedrin Menstrual Complete costs 50 cents more.

"According to the maker, these two Excedrin products should be priced the same. They don't set the prices. They suggest the prices, but it's up to the retailer to decide what the actual selling price is," said Tod.

So when shopping, it can pay to check prices closely and compare prices at different stores, too.

Bottom line. Ladies, you're paying for packaging, description, name and perceived value. But can you really tell the difference? Probably not. So you may want to grab his shaving cream when you hit the showers and save yourself some pennies.