How To Shop From iHerb and Things I Recommend Getting

How to shop on iHerb

I don’t post iHerb hauls on Twitter and Instagram often but when I do, I’m often asked about the things I’d recommend getting from iHerb, if there are things worth getting from iHerb and most importantly, is it safe to shop with iHerb because the website doesn’t look very appealing. I thought I’d answer those questions today and if you’re thinking of shopping on iHerb but aren’t sure if you should, I hope this post answers any questions you may have.

First of all, before I proceed, I must mention that this is not a sponsored post from iHerb. I wasn’t paid by iHerb to write this post nor did I receive any products from them for review. Every item/brand I mentioned here were purchased by me. However, iHerb does offer an affiliate program which I’m a part of so if you do place an order using any of my referral links, I get a small percent of credit back towards my future orders, which I’d really appreciate. But you don’t have to use my referral links if you don’t want to. It’s all good. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, this is going to be one heck of a lengthy post so brace yourselves.

Alrighty, let’s get started!

The Website

iHerb Screenshot April 2015

When I first shopped on iHerb years ago, that website was seriously godawful. It had a primitive, almost-Geocities like style of a website and there were colourful text here and there that seriously made me reconsider buying from the e-store. Categories of products were all over the place and it was bloody confusing trying to navigate the site.

Thankfully, they revamped their website and while it still looks very colourful, they’ve made it a lot easier to navigate the items you’re looking for. The website is also mobile-responsive but I find that I prefer using the full site when I’m on my iPad instead of the mobile one.

What made my shopping experience a good one on iHerb is the ability to save the items in my shopping basket. I only shop on iHerb once every 2-3 months and in between my orders, I’d place what I need into the shopping basket. When I access the website a week or even a month later, my shopping basket would still contain those items. If any of the items I placed in the basket is sold out, iHerb will inform me and I’ll be able to remove that item from the basket. I really like this feature as it allows me to add items in from my computer and mobile devices, as long as I’m logged in to my account.

I’ve not had any issues placing an order with iHerb. Any emails sent to Customer Service are replied promptly.

What I recommend getting from iHerb

Things I Recommend Getting from iHerb

Aromatherapy essential oils
Essential oils are very cheap on iHerb. The price of one typical essential oil is only slightly more expensive than a regular fragrance oil in Australia, which has an artificial, manufactured scent. There’s nothing wrong with fragrance oils if you’re going to make candles or use them in an oil burner, but if you want to add them to carrier oils to be used topically, essential oils are the way to go. Anyway, back to the aromatherapy essential oils on iHerb. If you’re in need of essential oils, get them on iHerb instead.

Real Techniques makeup brushes
If you’ve been lusting after Real Techniques makeup brushes but don’t want to spend a lot of money on them at Priceline pharmacies, get them from iHerb instead. They’re cheaper than Priceline (unless Priceline has their 40% off all makeup sale and even then, that seldom happens). I bought all of my Real Techniques brushes and sponges from iHerb. They don’t have the latest range and they certainly don’t stock the latest premium metal brushes but their regular brushes are pretty darn good enough for me.

Soy candles
I’ve purchased a lot of soy candles from iHerb. Soy candles are more expensive than the ones that use petroleum wax, and they often cost a lot of money in Australia. Even though I like to have a few luxe candles in my home, most of the time I’m happy to use the much cheaper ones from iHerb because they often work just as well as the expensive ones. Recommended brands: Mrs Meyer Clean Day (Paris B did an in-depth review of their soy candles here) and Aroma Naturals.

Method home-cleaning products
I love home-cleaning products by Method and while they’re not super expensive in Australia, they’re often quite hard to find. When I do manage to find a stockist in Melbourne, they don’t sell the ones in bulk packaging either, which are cheaper per ml or gram. Instead, I get them from iHerb. I often purchase the bulk packets of dishwashing liquid, all-purpose surface cleaner and handwash. They smell really good and they’re easy on the skin too.

Mrs Meyer Clean Day
I mentioned their soy candles (highly recommend them!) but those are not the only things that are good from the brand. I love the apple-scented handwash and their cleaning products are good too.

Chocolates and honey
Ahh my weakness, especially chocolate! Sometimes I’d like to throw in a bar or two into the parcel because … why not? ๐Ÿ˜› You can also get relatively cheap organic raw honey from iHerb but but do beware of the weight because this can add to the total weight of your parcel and shipping fees.

Vitamins and supplements
Vitamins on iHerb are similarly priced to most of the ones available in Australia, which means that they’re not very expensive. However, there are times when certain vitamins would go on sale and that’s when Tim will stock up. If you live in Malaysia and would like to purchase vitamins/supplements from iHerb (vitamins are expensive in Malaysia, even after conversion to AUD), be careful placing an order, especially if you opt to have your parcel shipped via DHL. A parcel I sent to my folks that didn’t contain vitamins/supplements was held back from shipment and they required my parents to pay a hefty tax in order to retrieve the parcel. iHerb had labelled the description of the parcel in the customs form as “health and beauty supplements” (they do that with every parcel, even if there aren’t any vitamins/supplements in it) and DHL would not release the parcel unless my parents paid the tax.

It was a very long and drawn-out process resulting in my burning that amount of money I paid for the parcel but it’s a lesson learned. If you live in Malaysia and would like to place an order for vitamins/supplements on iHerb, I’d either strongly advise you against it, or use the cheapest form of shipping instead e.g. Regular Air Mail (many thanks to Paris B for the tip!). And keep your fingers crossed that your parcel does not get slapped with tax.

Before the AUD tanked so low vs the USD, I used to buy my favourite Ecotools products from iHerb. I love the Sustainable Moisture Socks and the Pure Complexion Facial Sponge Konjac sponge, and I’d restock often. Ecotools on iHerb has a wider variety of products compared to Priceline pharmacies in Australia. I don’t think I’ll be stocking up on my Ecotools Konjac sponge from iHerb anymore given that the AUD is doing so poorly but when it hopefully climbs back up to be on par (or close), then I’ll get those again.

Physician’s Formula
Physicians Formula is quite expensive in Australia (almost AU$30 per item at Priceline) but it has proper drugstore prices on iHerb. You won’t get the latest releases on iHerb quickly but it’s a good place to stock up on items that you enjoy from the brand.

Pet care
When I first adopted Janey, I bought her pet shampoo and vitamins from iHerb. They were very cheap yet highly rated and Janey didn’t have any problems with them at all. Unfortunately, iHerb has stopped shipping of pet supplements, treats and certain grooming products to Australia, which is a huge bummer. But if you’re based in the US or anywhere else, you shouldn’t have a problem. The doggie shampoo I bought was the Austin Rose Inc Doggie Sudz Shampoo for Pampering Pooch in Mango & Neem and it smells delicious.

My favourite item to get from iHerb has to be tea. They have a wide variety of teas for all sorts of occasions. My favourite would be one of iHerb’s bestsellers, and that’s St Dalfour Golden Mango Green Tea. I stock up boxes of this because it sells out so quickly! Other recommended teas would be herbal teas from Yogi Tea and green teas from Harney & Sons.

Customer Reviews

Before placing an order, always check the reviews. I don’t normally buy anything with less than 4 stars rating or highly-rated items with less than 50 reviews. When it comes to vitamins/supplements, I Google independent reviews as well. If the item is crap, people will be more than happy to say so.


Now, let’s talk about shipping. iHerb offers 3 shipping options to Australia:
1) Australia Post (cheapest option)
2) DHL Express International (I use this)
3) UPS International (most expensive)

I place an order with iHerb only once every 2-3 months when I do, I usually buy over US$100 worth of products. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense for me to have my parcel shipped via Australia Post because while it’s cheaper, it’s often unreliable and takes a much longer time to arrive (5-15 days). I use DHL as it usually comes to slightly less than US$10 for a heap of products and they arrive in just 4 days. I don’t bother with UPS as it’s the most expensive option.

Parcels sent via DHL arrive very quickly (even quicker than items I’ve purchased from Australian e-tailers!) and they’re often well-packed. Spillable items are packed in individual zip-lock bags. If any of the items are damaged and/or spilled, let iHerb know and they’ll process a refund to you almost immediately.

Phew … this is a lengthy post! I hope it helps you if you’re considering shopping from iHerb. I love shopping from that website and so does Tim. It stinks that our AUD is so low compared to USD because that would mean we wouldn’t have to spend more money but let’s hope things pick up eh?

If you have any questions about shopping on iHerb, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them. Till then, happy shopping!

Do you shop from iHerb? What’s your favourite item(s) to buy from the store? What do you recommend getting?

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30 comments… add one
  1. Dommie

    I get my Giovanni shampoos from them by the bulk! Heaps cheaper than getting them in singapore!

    1. Tine

      Ooh what is this Giovanni shampoo? Very good one ah?

      1. Dommie

        The brand prides itself on being ‘eco chic’, but basically it’s a drugstore shampoo that’s free of silicones and sulfates. I can’t use sulfates because it makes my scalp itch a lot (and I used to use normal sulfate shampoos till my scalp reacted). In SG they sell it at SGD14+, but I get it for about USD6 on iHerb. I’ve used the Tea Tree one, and the Golden Wheat one. Their Silk conditioner is probably the best conditioner I’ve used for my hair too. It also lathers up very nicely, even though it’s sulfate-free.
        Dommie recently posted..Mimโ€™s Mini Manicures: OPI I have a Herring ProblemMy Profile

    2. nadia

      it cost me less as well , i used a coupon that i found it online here is the coupon code that will save
      you mony qkw181 just use it when you checkout
      thanks Tine for this great post , i like you blog soooooooo much
      nadia recently posted..ุดุฑุงุก ุงูŠููˆู† 6 7 ู…ู† ู…ูˆู‚ุน ุงู„ุงู…ุงุฒูˆู† ุดุงุดุงุช ู‚ุทุน ุบูŠุงุฑMy Profile

  2. Fiona

    I love iHerb! I only use DHL Express International because I don’t think I can wait for 3-4 weeks hehe. I like to keep an eye on their weekly special, which iHerb changes every Wed/Thu. So usually I will hold on to Real Techniques or Physicians Formula purchase until the 20% discount. Nowadays I also like to check out the Product Trials and Clearance section. Besides that I haul EcoTools, ELF and Bdellium Tools brushes as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Tine

      Ooooh clever! I didn’t even realise that they have weekly specials! *facepalm* Ish. Oh yeah, I check out the Product Trials section too. I’ve put in a lot of cheapies. I can’t remember the brand but there’s this lipbalm that’s apparently one of their bestsellers. I think I got it for 50 cents. Erm, that was 50 cents wasted. ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

      1. Fiona

        I bought a set of 3 Sierra Bees lip balm for $1 hehe :D. Now I’m waiting for Physicians Formula special as I wanted to grab the new argan oil blush and bronzer ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Tine

          Ooooh I have those in my shopping basket right now! Okok, I’ll wait for the specials too. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Paris B

    Eh, why is your iherb link at the end struck through?

    I’m kiamsiap so I usually do the cheap airmail shipping. It actually takes about a month to get here by which time I’ve usually forgotten I have a package so it’s a very nice surprise LOL However, if DHL has an offer, I”ll use DHL. I don’t shop a lot there. I bought Method once but then I can consistently find the brand locally now and it’s expensive but not bank breaking so I won’t buy from iHerb again. I’ve bought supplements (didn’t get taxed although they’ve come by both DHL and airmail *touchwood* but I also attribute it partly to the fact I’m in KL and for some reason, things slip through more than if it was to another town/city) and I’ve also bought an essential oil, but truth be told, wasn’t impressed because I found the quality subpar. It was an Aura something brand. With essential oils, I’ve found that quite often, a good quality oil is never cheap so I’ve stopped looking at those. For supplements, because I’ve found an option locally I also stopped buying. So, it makes me wonder what else I’d shop from there except for Mrs. Meyers candles! HAHA ๐Ÿ˜€ For brushes, I’d tried Bdellium (unimpressed) and Real Techniques (worth getting) but unless you’re a real greenie and supplement junkie, in which case iHerb would be a god-send, sometimes the shipping isn’t commensurate with the savings ๐Ÿ™‚
    Paris B recently posted..I’ll be Fair and Neutral about the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer (but I also compare it to my HG!)My Profile

    1. Tine

      Ooops my bad, I copied and pasted the link wrongly and the Bad Link Checker plugin picked it up. Fixed now.

      For us, it’s worth getting from iHerb because well, you know lah, stuff in Australia gila expensive. I haven’t tried Aura but NOW essential oils are not bad. Not as good as my more expensive ones that I get here but in a pinch, it works. Tim is pretty hooked on iHerb, especially the supplements department. He can browse for hours!

  4. Hayley

    Thank you for the tips! I gotta admit that the design of the website doesn’t attract me to shop there. Lol but I will give a try =)

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I don’t think their website attracts anyone to shop there. If it isn’t for their good prices and wide variety of natural products, I don’t think people would actually go to the website for the first time and think “ooh I gotta buy something from here!”. I’m so glad it’s looking much better now because the website was simply awful before the redesign. I honestly thought it was a spam website!

  5. Mel

    I got all, but one, of my Real Technique makeup brushes from iHerb and love them! So much cheaper than in store in Priceline and those brushes are amazing. Much better than brushes from other brands I’ve paid more money for in store!
    Mel recently posted..First World Problems for Makeup WearersMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I agree, and I got my RT brushes from iHerb too. I wish they’d sell the premium RT brushes but I hear that those are only sold exclusively in 2 stores in the UK and US. Boo!

  6. Asha

    Ooh, I didn’t know iHerb had Method products! I always schlep out to the Thomas Dux in Richmond especially to get their stuff, because I don’t want to spray poison onto surfaces that I prepare food on. While most ‘enviro-friendly’ products, how you say…suck b@#*^s! Method’s products are the BOMB! And they last forever! iHerb here I come!

    PS – Tine, you enabler you!

    1. Tine

      When I run out of Method products and really need to restock and cannot wait, I’ll get mine from Thomas Dux in Black Rock. Price-wise, they’re very similar to each other but what I like about iHerb is that they sell the bulk versions that Thomas Dux don’t. It’s cheaper that way. I haven’t been using other brands of dishwashing liquid for a while now as I only stick to Method. Suggestion: don’t bother with the bottle versions of anything if you can get the bulk version. They’re lighter, contain more product. cheaper per ml. I just decant mine into pump bottles that I reuse from shower gels or I get them from Daiso. ๐Ÿ™‚

      PS: Why thank you, thank you very much! (spoken like Elvis)

      1. Asha

        Guess what I found out? Turns out the website ships too! I compared the shipping costs (15% off!) and the website worked out cheaper but yes, once I start getting the bulk products I think I will be switching back to iHerb. As always, thanks a bunch Tine!

        1. Tine

          Oooh thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Beauty Box

    Yup I shop from iHerb 2-3 a month – I guess it’s because I’m a foreigner in Japan so I find the products on iHerb more appealing and it has a lot of variety plus organic products are priced very reasonably. I buy baby shampoo and food, tea, almond milk, granola, unusual flour like spelt, natural beauty products – I like Alba Botanica and method. Ooo I also love purchasing beauty oils like rose hip, jojoba, almond, avocado etc. Essential oils from Now Foods are also a staple. And I def stock up on supplements because the variety in Japan is seriously dismal. I tried Mrs Meyer’s hand soaps and candles from one of your older posts, btw! There’s a Japan Loves iHerb facebook group too – lol…. I think lots of gaijins stock up on favourite things from back home that they can’t get here.
    Beauty Box recently posted..Lancome Spring 2015 My French PaletteMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh yeah I forgot to mention that there are a lot of baby products on iHerb as well which I reckon a lot of mothers would like. The Now Foods essential oils are very popular and it’s no wonder; they’re effective and they’re very cheap (well, compared to Australia). Hahaha I’m going to have a nosey about that Facebook group now. I hope it’s not closed; I’d love to see what people are loving from iHerb.

  8. Sarjeit

    Need to know gow to buy an item. What and how do i go bout it

  9. Muhammad

    Malaysian Customs send me a warning letter and a phone call that it’s against the Malaysian law to import beauty products and supplements.

    I ordered multi vitamin, cod liver oil and vitamin d from Iherb.

    How come all of the people here never got this warning letter? The laws mentioned in the letter were all very old so, it cannot be a new law.

    Any Idea what’s happened?

    1. Tine

      Hi Muhammad, sorry to hear you had trouble with iHerb and the Malaysian customs. If I’m not mistaken, this could be the reason: Malaysia now has a strict limit of the amount of vitamins you can bring into the country, whether it’s shipped over from another country via online shopping or if you purchased the vitamins yourself in another country and bring them home. There’s a limit of 30 tablets/capsules to bring in, or something along the lines of only being able to bring in 30-day supply of supplements. If the amount of supplements exceed the 30-day supply limit, duty will be imposed on the supplements. I’ve seen this notice in KLIA and KLIA2 airports. I have a feeling it’s to prevent people from buying cheap supplements overseas, given how expensive supplements are in Malaysia. Late last year, I sent a parcel to Malaysia to my parents from iHerb, and DHL Malaysia withheld the parcel from them unless I paid duty on the supplements.

      I have a strong feeling that was what happened to you. A friend suggested that in future, instead of opting for courier services like DHL and FedEx to send stuff from iHerb to Malaysia, use their much slower regular air mail instead. They will take a much longer time to arrive but as there are so many regular airmail parcels, the customs people are less likely to check and scan through every single parcel. It’s just a suggestion though, so try at your own risk. My friend hasn’t gotten caught so far! *fingers crossed* ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Leen

    Hye, do you take orders for iherbs items? I found few people who take orders but they charged a lot on each items so i don’t think that it would be worthy… I’ve been searching for quite a while now and im totally desperate to find someone who doesn’t charge that much cause im planning to buy few items and it has to fit my budget as well๐Ÿ˜ฉ

    1. Tine

      No I’m afraid I don’t take orders for iHerb items. I normally just add whatever I need into the shopping basket along with my husband’s items and then months later, check out. ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. Kalifa Atia Mueen

    I also get my Giovanni shampoos from them by the bulk! Heaps cheaper than getting them in singapore!
    thanks for this post

  12. Eumappi

    I bought from the UK and was a real scam. IHerb do not advertise that there is a hefty stamp duty and handling charge to pay. I was also unaware they ship from the USA, if you do not know the company, it is really not clear. All is very misleading and I would have never ordered if known that all was shipped by the US. What they do is unlawful as all charges need to be clearly stated at the point of sale c, what they do goes against the Consumer Contract Regulation. There are many many complaints on Trustpilot with customers having the same issue. Be aware that if you buy from the UK you will be stung, go and buy somewhere else.

  13. Suja

    Thanks for all the recommendations!

    I am a iHerb customer for more than 2 years and I live in Melbourne. I usually buy Vitamin d for myself and kids (Natural Factors Vitamin D3), Pure Hawaiian Spirulina, Yogi Tea Echinacea Immune Support, Herb Pharm Kids Echinacea drops, Solgar Gentle Iron every few months.

    St. Dalfour Organic Golden Mango Green Tea is tempting me to buy so adding it to my cart now.

  14. Inga

    I like this online shop too ๐Ÿ™‚
    Inga recently posted..iHerb parduotuvฤ—My Profile

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