Real talk: I’m a freelance writer, so dropping over $200 for a cut-and-style is at best, not something I take lightly, and at worst, utterly stomach twisting. Add showing the receipt from this decision to my male significant other, watching him fumble in shock as he strolls into the barbershop and gets his $25 haircut.
For the record, our hair is the same length.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of the “Pink Tax” phenomenon—a form of gender-based price discrimination stemming from the observation that most of the affected products are pink. Companies like European Wax Center participate in #Axthepinktax every year, offering a discount on the average amount that “being a woman” costs. However, with the global struggle for a more inclusive world where gender pronouns aren’t exclusive to “he” or “she” anymore, the inequity of gender-based pricing is further challenged. And beauty salons everywhere are doing something about it.
First, let’s look at the research.
In 2018, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a study on gender-related price differences for goods and services in ten personal care product categories—things like deodorant and shaving products—they found that on average, five of these categories were significantly higher for women’s products than for men. Another 2015 study produced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that women’s products carried a higher price tag 42% of the time and men’s 18% of the time when compared with similar products for the opposite gender. Thankfully, to combat this, companies like Malin & Goetz, Aesop, and The Ordinary offer products in gender-neutral packaging that focus on performance, ingredients, and solutions for universal issues for face, body, and hair.