If you’ve run out of your favorite lotion, deodorant or shaving cream, stop before you head to the store to pick some more up. Instead, raid your boyfriend’s or husband’s side of the medicine cabinet. Chances are, you’ll be getting a similar product — or a better one — at a cheaper price.
Many of the beauty products marketed to women are a lot more expensive for nearly the same set of ingredients as those for men. And women are becoming the wiser, with a growing number buying toiletries made for men instead of the ones pushed on them. Brands for men like Anthony and Jack Black are increasingly seeing women using their products — and have begun selling to them as a result.
“Sharing products is a really useful way to both save money and create more intimacy,” says beauty and style expert Elycia Rubin, who blogs about beauty products on What I’m Loving. “A lot of fragrances now are unisex, and women have been gravitating toward more musky, woodsy scents, so women could find the fragrances for men alluring as well.”
In fact, the product’s scent and packaging are often the only differences between the male and female versions. And typically, neither is enough of a deal breaker to deter women from buying the one for guys instead of the one for girls.
The reason companies often charge women more than men? Because they can.
“The difference in price all comes down to marketing. Women are willing to pay more,” Rubin says. “They tend to think more about beauty and anti-aging than men.”
Some of the stuff for women is more complex in terms of how it’s made, which might bump up the cost. “Oftentimes, women’s products have added botanicals and other ingredients that men’s don’t have that would increase the price,” says Rubin.
But sometimes, they don’t. And the added ingredients aren’t always necessary to begin with.
So what beauty products for men should you steal for yourself and maybe save a little money in the process? Here are seven of them.
Brands like Degree make “for women” and “for men” deodorants with the same list of ingredients, but charge women more. For Degree Dry Protection Antiperspirant and Deodorant for women, it’s $1.53 an ounce; for Degree Men Dry Protection Antiperspirant and Deodorant, it’s $1.48 an ounce. Both contain Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly as the active ingredient and a nearly identical set of inactive ingredients. Other Degree deodorants marketed to women are even more expensive at $1.92 an ounce. And that’s not the only brand to ask women to pay more. Dove deodorant does it too, with the antiperspirant and deodorant for the ladies at $1.53 an ounce and the one for men at $1.44 an ounce.
Though the Degree male and female products are almost exactly the same, sometimes deodorants for men are stronger than those for women — another reason to go for the guys’ product over the girls’. “You’ll probably get a more powerful product and extra oomph out of a men’s deodorant,” Rubin says.
A moisturizer for women like Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator costs $38.50 for 1.7 ounces, a whopping $22.65 an ounce. Clinique for Men’s Maximum Hydrator moisturizer costs just $32 for 1.7 ounces, or $18.82 an ounce. And Clinique for Men’s Moisturizing Lotion is even cheaper, $26 for 3.4 ounces or $7.65 an ounce. All have some of their own ingredients but quite a few of them overlap too.
If you are planning to try your guy’s moisturizer, just be careful, advises Rubin. “Face moisturizer I’d be more cautious about,” she says. “Just do a test for a day and make sure it agrees with your skin.”
Razors for men and women can be more evenly priced, but the ones for men tend to work better and give closer, smoother shaves. Gillette’s Venus razors for women, like the Venus Swirl Women’s Razor with FlexBall Technology, comes with two refills and costs $12.59. Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Razor with FlexBall Handle Technology, marketed to men, also comes with two refills and costs between $12.59 and $13.59, depending on where you buy it. Reviewers swear by the one for men as a great product for anyone looking for an ultra-effective razor.
“I’ve tried the men’s razors and I do find they give me a closer shave on my legs,” says Rubin.
4. Shaving cream
A thick, rich shaving cream for men like Barbasol costs $1.99 for 10 ounces — just 20 cents an ounce — but users say it’s just as good, if not better, than one for women like Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel, which costs $3.99 for 7 ounces, or 57 cents an ounce. Barbasol fans say it’s the best product out there for men and women when it comes to getting a smooth, sleek shave.
This one’s a no-brainer, according to Rubin. “Women don’t even have to think twice about shaving cream,” she says. “Go for the cheaper option.”
5. Eye cream
Kiehl’s Eye Alert for Men, made with caffeine and cucumber extract, is great for tackling puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. And at $22.50 for .5 ounces, it’s a much better buy than the brand’s other eye creams tailored to women, like Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, which costs $28.50 for .5 ounces.
“Eye creams can be very expensive, so if the men’s ones have some good ingredients and work with your skin, definitely give them a shot,” Rubin says.
Conditioners marketed to women, like Aveda’s Shampure Conditioner, smell great and all, but they’re more expensive than the good stuff for men like Redken for Men Finish Up Daily Weightless Conditioner. Aveda’s sells for $1.59 per ounce; Redken’s goes for $1.40 an ounce. A number of other hair care products for men are better buys than the ones out there for women, too, and leave your hair just as shiny and silky.
7. Body wash
Body gels and scrubs made with men in mind, like Anthony’s Blue Sea Kelp Body Scrub, are refreshing and leave your skin nice and smooth. And you’ll generally pay less for them than you will for those for women, like The Body Shop’s Spa Wisdom Africa Ximenia & Salt Scrub. Anthony’s costs $1.63 per ounce, while The Body Shop’s goes for $2.07 an ounce. Score!
“Just check the ingredients to make sure there’s nothing harsh in there, especially if you have sensitive skin,” Rubin advises. “If you enjoy the scent and don’t get any redness or rash, go for it.”