What's up with iherb's new international shipping rates?

Iherb recently announced changes in their international shipping rates.  What does this mean for international shoppers and how can you continue saving money shopping iherb online.


 It's no secret that I love iherb.  I know that many of you love it too.  I order products from them about every two months and I often link products to their website.  Why?

  • The prices are better than Canadian health product online retailers.
  • Shopping online allows me to research ingredients and compare them to the EWG database.
  • International shipping is only $4
  • I've received EVERY order within two weeks (shipping times vary by country).
  • So far, I've only had to pay duties/taxes once (on an order over $60).
  • The expiration date and ingredients are all listed.
  • I can read purchaser reviews.
  • Re-ordering items is a breeze.
  • Sometimes there are cool specials and trials...like free lip balm.
  • First time shoppers get $5 to $10 off their first order using coupon code KEP382.

Yesterday, I had to edit this love list.  That's because iherb changed their international shipping rates.  I was about to place an order, when I noticed my shipping charge was over $10.  I looked around iherb's website...found nothing, so found myself scrolling through their facebook page.  According to this facebook post dated December 3, 2014, international airmail shipping rates are now as follows:

Up to 1 pound = $4.45
From 1 pound to 2 pounds = $8.90
From 2 pounds to 3 pounds = $13.35
From 3 pounds to 4 pounds = $17.80

"However, please note that if your order is over $20, you will see a 50% shipping discount in your cart. So your shipping rate can be as low as $2.23." 

Why iherb changed its international shipping rates

On December 1st, iherb posted this on their facebook page:  "With the rise in cost to ship internationally, it has become more and more difficult for iHerb to subsidize the shipping charges for these shipping methods. Our international shipping costs are now based on weight and not just a flat fee."  Apparently, all this time, iherb was subsidizing shipping costs.  I personally think the change in policy is understandable.   I've done quite a bit of ebay international shipping and frankly never understood how they shipped for so cheap.  I also understand that the term "subsidize" is subjective.  I'm sure iherb was making that money up somewhere.

How will iherb's new international shipping rates affect customers?

Needless to say, the price increase has caused quite a kerfuffle with iherb's international customers.  Most affected, are those from countries that charge a high tax rate on purchases over $20, thus making the shipping discount moot.  Many of us will only end up paying a few dollars more, and some will actually save money on international shipping.

As a Canadian (who can usually spend about $50 without getting hit by the tax man), this means I've had to come up with a new iherb shopping strategy.  It's important to note that US customers are not affected by this change.  Expedited shipping over $20 continues to be free within the US!  So what the strategy for the rest of us?

How to save money shopping at iherb

1.  The best way to save money on iherb international shipping is to spend more than $20.  Yes....you might have to spend...to save.  For example, my shampoo and conditioner came to $18.20.  Simply adding a lip balm (or anything over $1.81) saved me a couple dollars on the shipping costs.

2.  Spend over $40 and you'll receive an additional 5% cart discount (sometimes more if there's a promotion).  So, if you're a few pennies off, buy a tea sampler or even a tea bag for $0.50.  Hit the "Product Trials" tab and sort by "lowest price".  The key is keeping your shipping weight low.  You can keep track of your shipping weight on the bottom left side of your cart, beside the "scales" icon.

3.  Combine heavier products (e.g. glass containers, liquids and gels) with light items (like makeup).  Try the sort by "Lightest to Heaviest" filter to find the best option for shipping.   Shipping weights carry vary for the same item, as packaging like glass, needs extra protection.   This means I'll have to plan better, staggering my heavier purchases (organic shampoo, conditioners, bottled stevia) throughout the year.

4.  Some people will actually save money with iherb's new international shipping rates.  This is especially true with makeup.  For example, I did a dummy order for my favorite non-toxic Ecco Bella mascara, Honeybee Gardens eyeliner and Derma E eye makeup remover, the weight was so low, international shipping came to $2.00!

5.  Compare your cart total with Vitacost.  Depending on what you're buying, international customers might find better saving there.

6.  First time customers can also save $5 to $10 dollars with coupon code KEP382.  Remember, your total has to be over $20 after applying the coupon to receive the shipping discount.

I hope this has answered some of your questions regarding iherb's new international shipping rates.  For more tips on shopping iherb online, check out my post on Eat More Naturally.

Disclosure: I’ve been a customer and affiliate of iherb for over two years. It is my favorite online store. When people use my coupon code or buy through a link, I get a teeny commission. I appreciate every penny, as it allows me to continue reviewing new products.


  1. I was about to place an order until I realized they ship via UPS. Usually UPS charges high amounts for delivery so unfortunately, I think this is enough of a reason to purchase elsewhere. Have they offered to ship to you via USPS? If so, please let me know and perhaps it might still be worth ordering though them. Thanks :-)

    1. Hi Dayla,

      You need to pick "International Airmail". There is a weight restriction, up to 4lbs. This is what I always pick and my packages have always arrived by Canada Post. (Ontario Canada). Just watch the amount. I try to stay under $50 so I don't get hit with duty :)

  2. Just ordered from Canada back in April, and had it shipped with international airmail.
    I did not have to pay duty even though the order total was above $60. Notice the shipping cost was $5.34, so that's a modest increase with respect to the $4.00 I was previously paying:

    Subtotal $63.87
    Shipping $5.34
    Tax $0.00
    Reward $0.00
    Order Total $69.21


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