kai conversations with…..celebrity makeup artist, collette tolen

we are overjoyed to bring you this week’s kai conversation with the masterfully skilled celebrity makeup artist, collette tolen, who we are fortunate to call a friend & long-time kai devotee. collette is the amazing artist behind the impressive looks of the stars in the award-winning shows including roswell, new mexico, waco, and messiah, along with motion pictures such as the comeback trail where she worked with robert deniro, morgan freeman, and tommy lee jones. collette is a jack of all trades who can do it all exceptionally from special effects, tattoos, and distressed looks to glamorous high-fashion and completely natural appearances.

collette is not only an extraordinary makeup artist, aesthetician, and hair stylist — but she is a beautiful person inside and out, who truly embodies the kai “breath*life*flow” way of life. we hope you enjoy reading her fun, insightful interview below, and we highly encourage you to check out her website, which highlights her remarkable makeup work. 


how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time?  are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/inspiration?  if so, please feel free to share.

in march 2020 i was lined up to deparment head a pilot and like most everyone else, covid shut down things. separating out the unknown and fears that came with covid becoming a worldwide pandemic, a lot of us were immediately out of work and didn’t know when we would be returning back to work. what was once normal changed rapidly. after some adjustment time, i learned to establish routines and try out a few new hobbies. luckily the time off was during the spring and summer so i was able to invest a lot of time in the yard and garden. i really love getting outside the house and putting my hands in the dirt, watching seedlings become small plants and then big plants. right now the yard is dormant and getting ready for next spring so i can take this time during the colder weather to read and cook. now that i’m back to work and life is returning to a more familiar form, i am able to take joy in the small things again, such as gardening, lighting incense, a cup of coffee, a morning bath or taking a walk with our dog jax.


how do you embody kai’s “breath*life*flow” lifestyle?

when i’m under stress, i take a step back (eventually) and realize to “let go”, everything is going to be ok. when you stop fighting, the natural flow of what is will take over. 

do you have a mantra you live by?

everything is always going to work out the way it’s supposed to.


what’s your beauty secret? or must have beauty product?

foreo! i think their products are great. my daily routine includes the luna and the bear and the ufo at least a couple times a week. i have an espada at my work station and at home for those blemishes that show up whenever they want to. for skincare paula’s choice has a great line of products. their sunscreen is lightweight and is great under makeup. the best beauty secret….a good night’s sleep!


go-to lipstick color?

charlotte tillbury pillow talk and ysl rouge volupte mauve cuir. also, humble and hurraw lip balms are great for hydrating at home in between or sometimes on top of lip color. i have them stashed everywhere in the house (and purse too)


what color nail polish are you wearing right now?

zoya – haven. love their polish colors! zoya has so many colors to choose from. they dry quickly and they’re easy to apply.


how would you describe your personal style?

i tend towards simplicity. this year i am trying to branch out from my comfort zone and try out different styles that i wouldn’t have been comfortable with in the past.


what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to?

i love the landscape of new mexico. the skies and mountains are beautiful and you can see for miles. every sunset is spectacular (and when we have those early morning calls, the sunrises a stunning as well). the eleanor gallegos park in albuquerque is one of my favorite spots for a walk / hike. you walk in the desert landscape for about half a mile and then you’re walking between the mountains. overall, albuquerque (and the surrounding areas) has so many great trails and paths to walk. you can find easy trails in town along the bosque or in the mountains near the ski area. the all trails app has been a great tool for finding new places to go each week.

who is your role model?

my mom. she has been a leader and teacher to me and she is a solid, strong, beautiful and courageous woman. she is the one who helped me get started and grow as a makeup artist. it has been and continues to be a journey of learning and growing.

describe your perfect day.

a morning bath (with signature kai or kai rose, depending on the vibe) with a cup of coffee and an episode or two of grace and frankie, followed up by a walk with jax


ultimate getaway?

i’ve been lucky enough to explore a lot of the united states, so now i want to get out and explore the world. first on the list for me, is the northern lights and the blue lagoon, so iceland is first on the list. even better, if i have a month or more to explore, i’d like to see the united kingdom, ireland, sweden, norway, denmark.


favorite food?



guilty pleasure?

ordering new seeds for the garden (usually more than i can ever need and use). there’s two great seed companies that i like to order from, baker heirloom seed co. and annie’s seeds. they have organic and unusual varieties of fruits and vegetables this past fall, i decided to order over 10 different types of basil. i’m not sure where this new basil farmer is going to plant all the varieties, but i still have a few months to figure it out.


kai obsession?

i love the kai handcream!!! i have it at my makeup station and in the actress bags.


morning person or night owl?

i’m more of a mid-day-“er”. when i’m on an open schedule (no work or appointments) i usually wake up around 8 and ready for sleep by 11/12.


currently craving?

anything cozy like family time, a blanket & a book, the smell of wood burning in a fireplace, wheat / bread products, the smell and taste of holiday spices, like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.


ideal way to relax/unwind?

reading a book, watching a favorite show or movie with lawrence or time with my family or close friends


what book are you reading currently?

a couple of them right now. elizabeth gilbert – city of girls, (almost finished with this one. i love the way elizabeth gilbert writes!! her stories are tangible and empowering for women.) brenee brown – atlas of the heart (first few chapters in, love the target / normalcy reference in the opening) and the four agreements – miguel ruiz (been carrying this one around for a few months in my set bag at work. when i’m ready to start i will most likely devour in a day)


what’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?

lawrence and i took the casita trailer on a six week trip cross country trip. discovered and fell in love with some beautiful parts of the country, especially the great lakes areas of michigan and wisconsin. the water is so clean and beautiful. it looks like the caribbean,.. just a little colder.

thank you... collette!


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