It’s been dubbed the ‘pink tax’: an inexplicable mark-up in pricing which sees women paying a premium on the same products as men, whether it’s plain cotton T-shirts, pens, razors, designer perfume or even just shower gel.
After a recent investigation found that the average price difference between men and women’s products is around 36 per cent, the debate has been thrust into public spotlight once more.
And now a petition has been launched, urging the executive vice president of Boots, Simon Roberts, to ‘charge women fairly’ when it comes to like-for-like products.
One is a luxury brand that costs a hair-raising £119 and boasts the ability to ‘transform’ women’s locks, ordaining them with the glamour of Russian royalty.
The other is a bargain product sold at a budget supermarket for just 75p and simply promises to leave you with shiny, supple hair.
But when Britain’s most expensive shampoo and conditioner went head to head with the cheapest in a blind test – which came out on top?
In an experiment conducted by The Mail on Sunday, ten women were asked to replace their usual haircare products with alternative brands. Half of the group were given Cien Provitamin 300ml shampoo and conditioner from Lidl.
The other half were given the ultra-chic Philip B Russian Amber Imperial brand, which at £119 for a single pot of shampoo and the same price for the conditioner is the costliest haircare product on the British High Street.
The testers didn’t know which they were using.
After three weeks, our volunteers were asked to rate the shampoo out of five on the product’s appearance and consistency, how much they liked the scent, how it lathered when applied to the hair, and its efficacy at cleaning the hair. Conditioner was scored on appearance, consistency, scent, and how well it detangled hair.
The results showed that the cheaper shampoo outclassed its more expensive rival, scoring 88 out of a possible 125 compared to Philip B’s 66. Out of 25, Lidl scored 16 for lather while Philip B scored just seven; 18 for appearance to Philip B’s 13; and 18 on consistency compared to Philip B’s eight.
Philip B scored marginally better on scent and efficacy, with 19 in both categories compared to Lidl’s 18.
For the conditioner, Lidl proved the winner again, scoring 72 out of 100 overall compared to 69 for Philip B.
Because women will pay more.