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Cheapest places to buy toiletries

By Anna Studman

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Cheapest places to buy toiletries

Face cream, razors, deodorant, shampoo… the cost of toiletries quickly adds up. We've analysed prices to find the cheapest places to shop.

Asda is the cheapest place to buy your toiletries according to our latest price comparison, while Waitrose is the most expensive.

We compared the average price of a basket of 20 common toiletries products at Asda, Boots, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug, Tesco and Waitrose to see how much of a difference where you shop makes to how much you'll spend.

Charging 14% more than Asda overall, Waitrose was the most expensive place to buy 10 out of the 20 products we compared, while Asda was not the most expensive place for any. High street stalwarts Boots and Superdrug finished neck and neck for the total cost of their baskets, landing just behind Tesco - the second most expensive place for your toiletries shop. 

Sainsbury's, the cheapest retailer in our 2017 comparison, was pushed into second place this time.

Some products' prices vary a lot more than others. Olay 2 in 1 Anti Wrinkle Day Cream was £10 at Tesco and Boots, but only £5 at Morrisons, and £5 on offer at Asda, Sainsbury's and Superdrug. A pack of Gillette razors was on offer everywhere except for Tesco, Waitrose and Superdrug.

Even though Asda was the cheapest overall, some products are still worth shopping around for. Nivea Men's Sensitive Moisturiser was double the price at Asda compared to Tesco (where it was £3). Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste was around £4 everywhere except for Morrisons, where it was half the price.

How the shops compare 

The results of our price comparison suggest that shopping around is a wise strategy, unless your regular supermarket is already budget-friendly the Asda or Sainsbury's.

Special offers not so special?

Picking up more products on special offer may not necessary bring your total bill down. Boots and Superdrug were the most expensive places to get many of the products from our basket, despite having the most 'special offers' on. Waitrose and Asda both had the least amount of products on offer across the week, they were still at opposite ends of the price scale to one another overall.

At Boots, Superdrug and Sainsbury's, more than half of our basket was on offer for the week in which we carried out our price analysis. 

Boots had offers on 15 out of the 20 products in our basket for the whole week, and Superdrug had 11. Superdrug's offers may present better value as it was the cheapest place to get 5 of the 20 products over the whole period, while Boots was the cheapest place for only one of the products. 

How we analysed toiletries prices

To carry out our snapshot price comparison of a typical toiletries shop, we calculated the average price of each product between 13 and 20 March 2018 in each of the eight stores. We compared the average price of a basket of 20 common toiletries products to find out which one is the cheapest.

We used data from the independent grocery shopping website MySupermarket.co.uk to do our calculations, an included special offer discounts but not multibuy deals. To see which products we based our price comparison on, check out our full toiletries product list.

According to our survey of Which? members, the most common places to buy cosmetics and toiletries are Tesco (18%), Sainsbury’s (18%), Boots (15%), Asda (7%), Superdrug (6%), Waitrose (6%), Morrisons (5%) and Ocado (2%). 

Nearly 40% of Which? members that we surveyed say they’re likely to go out of their way to buy toiletries from a shop that's not their usual retailer if the toiletries they need are cheaper there; and 50% do so regularly or occasionally.