The Pink Tax And What You Can Do About It


If you’re a female in the US, who listens to news channels, or browses social media, you’ve probably heard of the “Pink Tax”.

Image shows a store display with women's razors and shaving cream, and text that reads "How to Outsmart the 'Pink Tax'"

Honestly, my first reaction when I hear “pink tax” is “whatever, that’s not a thing”, but you can’t deny that we gals tend to spend a lot of money on personal care.

But let’s be clear on one thing. We’re not taxed for it.

Taxation is defined by a person or entity taking what’s yours by force, and nobody is forcing you to spend your hard earned money on anything pink.

It’s true that many things designed for female use are often overpriced, but you have the choice to vote with your dollar on these things, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Have you seen the joke about men’s personal care versus women’s? The one that shows a bottle of lotion for men, and just says “men’s lotion”, and in the next frame, you see a bottle of women’s lotion that says “left elbow lotion”.

Image shows a tweet that reads "The beauty industry: For men: This can be used as a shampoo, body wash, face wash, lotion, mouth wash, tooth paste, engine degreaser, spackle or sunscreen. For women: We've specially formulated this moisturizer for your left elbow."

It kind of illustrates just how fanatical we ladies can get when it comes to personal care. If we think it’s going to help us look better, or stay younger longer, we shell out the cash – or at least whip out our credit cards – and businesses capitalize on that.

It’s not our fault that they do this, but it is our fault that we fall for it.

So what can you do?

  • Do a little research. Do you really need a different kind of lotion for your face than you use for your hands? Probably. But is that super hydrating face wash you saw on tv really more effective than a simple mild soap? Does your razor have to be pink?
  • Don’t just take a the advertisement department’s word for it. Do you own research.

And this is the part where I tell you exactly what I use of myself.

Image shows a razor from Dollar Shave Club


Women’s razors are notorious for being more expensive than men’s. Why? Well, it depends on the razor. Some of them have swanky hydrating strips. Maybe some of them sing and dance, and some are just a different color.

Simple solution: Buy men’s razors. I mean, do we really care if our razors are pink? Not if they cost twice as much!

Smart idea: Get your razors from Dollar Shave Club. I used to have a mini heart attack when I bought, yes, even my husband’s razors at the store. So ding-dang expensive! Guess how much the Dollar Shave Club costs both of us? $3 a month. That’s it. The end. And they’re good razors too. Not fancy, but good.

Image shows a stack of homemade soaps on a white surface

Shaving Cream

I’ll be honest, shaving cream is not my jam. If you feel like you’re overpaying for women’s shaving cream versus men’s, you now what to do.

Simple solution: Buy men’s shaving cream. Dude, it’s all foam.

Smart idea: Use homemade bar soap. As you’ll soon see, I’m not a huge fan of using endless numbers of body care products, and I’m even less of a fan of using a constant rain of chemicals on my body. Homemade soap differs from the bar soap you see in the store by being an actual glycerin containing soap, as opposed to a harsh detergent. It softens your skin rather than drying it out, and makes a great substitute for shaving cream. It’s simple, and it’s what I’ve used for years.

Image shows a stack of homemade soap with text that reads "Homemade (Cold Process) Soap"

Body wash

Growing up, we had a bar of soap in our shower, and a bottle of shampoo in the corner. Things haven’t changed much, and here’s why: If the goal is to get clean, do you really need ten different products to do it? I think not. What is body wash anyway? Liquid detergent and chemical scents? No thanks!

Simple Solution: Homemade bar soap to the rescue again.

Smart idea: If you really like using a liquid body wash, try using your bar soap to make homemade liquid soap for your shower. It’s really easy!

Photo shows a hand holding a menstrual cup

Tampons and Pads

And here’s the real “female tax” Everything we’ve covered so far is a product that both men and women need equally. But tampons? That’s exclusive to us gals.

People call women “hormonal”, and “unstable”. But what they don’t understand is we’re just angry that we have to spend 1/4 of our lives bleeding out our nether regions. Dudes, you’d be bummed too, don’t lie.

So here’s the thing. I don’t spend money on tampons (which I’ve always hated btw), or pads. Or at least, I very rarely do.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of pouring a cascade of chemicals onto my body, and if that’s the case, I’m certainly not going to insert a paper, chemical-filled tampon into one of my most absorbent body parts I have, and frankly, neither should you.

So where does that leave us?

Well, this could go a couple ways: Cloth pads, or the menstrual cup.

They both have their pros and cons, but frankly the cloth pad cons are pretty big, so you know what I choose: the menstrual cup.

I’ve been using the Diva Cup for a number of years, which means for years, I haven’t been spending money on disposable products, which is good for my wallet, good for my body, and good for our landfills.

I know, I know, nobody wants to deal with a cup of blood. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to deal with periods period, and once you get past the squeamishness, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is. Much less gross than seeing bloody tampons sitting in your trash can. And filling landfills later on.

All I’m saying is, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

And yes, as a very active female. I run and lift weights while wearing a Diva Cup.

Learn more about using a menstrual cup here.

I’m sure there are other “Pink Taxes” that I’ve missed.

As a mom, I want to teach my daughter to be judicious about what she buys, not fall for advertising schemes (even though right now she’d buy anything with a unicorn label on it), and most of all, not to fall for advertising that claims to care about her rather than the advertisers agenda.

Because don’t be fooled. There is nothing you could possibly profit from believing that you’re the powerless victim of overpriced pink items as so many videos I’ve watched, and articles I’ve read insinuate.

You’re not a victim. Stand up and take care of yourself, and that includes not overpaying for the toiletries you use.

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  1. Dear Elise;

    Hi, I really enjoyed your Cherry Tart recipe and look forward to getting even fatter this winter with it LOL!

    I just want to say that, although I agree totaly about what you’ve said about taxation, womens products as opposed to mens and especially about choice! We definately have the ability to vote with our money. But, the defination that you’ve listed is not entirely fair. Yes, taxation is a compulsory obligation (usually by everyone in a society), but it isn’t enforced through force. Incarceration and the selling off of personal assets inorder to meet the tax obligation is not force. Just as we have the choice to pay or not pay our taxes for the most part, by not paying them we choose to accept the consequences of not meeting our responsibilities.

    I agree whole heartedly! It drives me to distraction when people I mention this to say that they do not and that they need everything they purchase. Americans have no idea what real poverty is, or what doing out is and I don’t mean passing up a movie because you need the cash too pay the car loan. I mean deciding between paying the rent or putting food on the table for the kids, kind of decisions.

    I am not saying, that in society, especially ours that everyone is taxed fairly or even appropriately. It appears that if you have the money with which to hire expensive laywers and accounts who can set up tax shelters, cleverly work your tax reporting etc., the less money if any you will need to pay. Look at companies like GE International, who can claim billions of dollars of “no profit” and then receive tens of billions of dollars back from us (yes us), because of this – and they are not the only ones. There is a long list of heavy duty corporations that do this every year. Forbes did a report on it a number of years ago.

    We need taxation, or we would have to do without a whole lot of neccesities and then fall back into third country status within a very very short time. Oh, and yes the wealthy would be fine as they are very mobile. Their no such thing as nationalism amongst the wealthy as their money is easily moved, divested and spread througout the world in bank accounts, municiple holdings etc.

    The truth of the problem is that you and I are purposely led to believe otherwise. A lot of money is spent to convince us of this and many other deceptions as well. Always remember, our networks, papers, magazines, online infrastructure is all owned by somebody and that somebodies spends a lot of cash trying to vote in their wealthy best interests. Nothing is honest when it comes to money.

    Thank you again for posting that recipie. I’ve always been afraid of trying such things as they always looked way to complicated for my fumble-thumbs!

    Sincerest Best Wishes!


  2. Being a woman used to be special, unique, now everyone just wants to complain about it but it is our choices that make it expensive. I’ve been using an electric razor for years, no throw away and no foam needed, no wasting running water in the shower either. When I was young we used rags and a strap for periods until Kotex started making a mint off of us women with disposable pads and poisonous tampons. I regret I didn’t find the cup until the last two years I menstruated —no worse than handling a tampon; dump in the toilet and clean with tissue paper, reinsert, wash your hands. (Please do not clean in a public sink.) I used pads made of flannel as backup.

    I dont make my own soap but I buy quality bar soaps and use sea sponge under it so it doesn’t sit and melt; bar soap lasts longer than liquid and I don’t have plastic to deal with. Lush even has a shampoo bar so no plastic to dispose of there either. Lots of ways to save money and be responsible.

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