LORAC California Dreaming Eye Shadow Palette: Sweet Dreams or Nightmare?

Purchased by me


The LORAC California Dreaming Eye Shadow Palette ($30) is part of a small two piece collection inspired by the LA California coast in winter. The other piece is a California Dreaming Blush Palette ($30). “Chunky sweaters and jewels, wind and white plush clouds, the glow of the sun and your toes in the sand. Lorac Los Angeles brings you an eye shadow palette that was inspired by all the things we love about the sunny city in late winter.”

They had me at jewels: I expected some vivid greens, blues and purples. Boy was I wrong! This palette is for those cloudy, overcast days at the beach when everything is soft and muted. Okay, I’m still on board, I like soft, ethereal makeup looks. let’s check it out.

The palette contains 12 eyeshadows in matte and shimmer finishes. It leans warm but there are some cool toned shades like the light pink Bonfire.  The texture of the eyeshadows are drier than my other LORAC palettes. They also tend to sheer out and fade throughout the day so an eyeshadow primer is a MUST to get good performance from the palette. Though some of these shades are very pretty, Kitty Cat, in particular, they kick up more dust than a bucking bronco at the rodeo! Some have fallout issues too: I keep my makeup eraser sponge handy when using this palette and don’t forget to tap off your brush before you apply the shadow! I have so many LORAC palettes I LOVE (hello Unzipped, Unzipped Gold & PRO palettes), I think California Dreaming was either released in a hurry, made at a different factory or maybe is one of those cheaper “promo” palettes because the quality it is just not up to par. We see this a lot at holiday time when brands release cheaper sets and kits. That said, it is not a throwaway. With a good primer and careful application, you can make this palette work for you.

If you’re wondering how these different shades can coordinate, look at each row and as a quad and each column as a trio. If you view it this way, then the colors start to look more cohesive. I swatched the colors vertically, three at a time so I will list them that way too. Swatches are without primer.

Sand Castle is an icy white with a frost finish

Hot Toddy is a warm, dusty rose matte

Cozy is a peachy matte nude that blends into my skintone

Button is a light fawn brown with a lovely pearly satin finish

Starfish is a soft peach with a pearly satin finish

Boots is a deep matte navy blue/black

Overcast is a matte gray/lavender

Seaside is a deep green w/gold shimmer. It looks pretty in the swatch but unfortunately does not transfer like this to the eye

Kitty Cat is a deep metallic taupe that can look bronze or even burgundy with the light. Definitley the star of the show

Bonfire is a cool matte light pink

Cable Knit is a matte eggplant with brown undertones

65° is pale shimmery pink


  • The well thought out colors really are reminiscent of winter days at the beach
  • The packaging is adorable!
  • Affordable price


  • The texture of some of the shadows are dry
  • All the shadows kick up powder
  • Some have fallout

The packaging is so cute, fresh and girly! As with most LORAC palettes, California Dreaming made of slim cardboard with a full sized mirror. The design features bright emoji-like characters on the front, back and framing the mirror.

I picked up the LORAC California Dreaming Palette in a set from HSN that includes the palette plus a full-size LORAC PRO Mascara and Alter Ego Satin Lipstick in Beach Babe for only $42 with free shipping. Sold separately it would be $72!

I love the smooth, creaminess of the LORAC Alter Ego Lipsticks ($18). Beach Babe is a peachy nude with a lovely satin finish. Alter Ego Lipstick contains antioxidants such as acai berry, pomegranate, grape seed extract, and vitamins C and E.

The LORAC PRO mascara is hit with me. I like the wet formula and the cone shaped brush. Cone brushes do take some getting used to, but when you get the hang of it, the bristles will catch Every. Single. Lash.

The Look: Eyes – Bonfire on brow bone, Kitty Cat on lid, Cable Knit in crease. Kitty Cat under lower lashes, Sand Castle on inner corner.

Bottom Line: Truth be told, I’m still kind of on the fence about this set. I like the palette but don’t love it. For me, it just takes too much work. I want to be able to apply my eye shadow quickly and easily without too much effort. I like the formula of the Alter Ego lipsticks, but does Beach Babe wash me out? And I really like the mascara. Overall I would say LORAC California Dreaming is not a sweet dream but not a nightmare either–maybe a restless night?

I’m still not sure, should I keep or return? Have you ever returned makeup?

From our partners


  1. As beautiful as this looks on you, I’d have to pass. I don’t want to have to work that hard to make it show up plus it seems like some shades won’t be used. I love how pretty the lipstick is and it’s a nice everyday shade for you.

  2. Allison @neversaydiebeauty says

    I like these shades but agree that I don’t want to have to work at it especially when Lorac makes other palettes that are so pigmented and easy to use. I like the lipstick shade but I know it would be too light for my lips.

  3. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    Thank you for your honest review. I don’t usually wear make up, just a little face powder and lipstick and I’m fine. I will let my daughter know about the pros and cons of the Lorac California Dreaming eyeshadow palette.

  4. Julie Porter says

    I really like some of the shades in the palette but I’m with you, I don’t want to have to work to be able to use makeup. I want to be able to do it quickly and efficiently, so I’m not sure this would be one I would pick up.

  5. I have returnedmakeup. I returned the UD Moondust palette. It was nothing but fall out. It was the first time I feel I was “too old” for something, lol!

  6. It’s always disappointing when you see a good palette and it ends up not working well with you or for you. Sorry about your experience with this one, the colors are great though. Such a waste. I don’t like the color of the lipstick, it’s too pale for me.

  7. polarbelle says

    hmm…the swatches are gorgeous, but if they kick up and don’t wear too well….meh

  8. Pretty shades, but yes I don’t like having to put so much effort in to make it wearable.

  9. These are really beautiful colors, Cindy!

  10. This looks great. Love the amazing colors too!. Awesome indeed!

  11. TheNewClassy says

    There are some really great shades here. I bet my daughter would love to wear them. She is the makeup expert in my family.

  12. I really love the colors they chose- & that packaging!

  13. Hannah Marie says

    I love the packaging, it’s so pretty! I’ve never tried returning make up before. I think it’s not allowed here. It looks good on you though 🙂

  14. I love the cute packaging and love Lorac brand! These colors look perfect for a cool toned person. The pigmentation is so pretty!

  15. You look gorgeous whatver you wear huni. Thanks for sharing your New Lorac carlifonia Palette with me 🙂