Wednesday, April 1, 2015Mostly Cloudy -1°C
Fashion & Style

The top 5 makeup artist and design schools in Toronto

Posted by Staff / July 23, 2014

makeup artist torontoThe top makeup artist and design schools in Toronto consider beauty enhancement to be a minor component to a cosmetologist's job. After all, cosmetics are not only useful for vanity's sake, but for reasons that include but are not limited to: zombie replications, drag, properly shaded bruises as an art form, celebrity impersonations, and the occasional prosthetic nose. These schools encourage the innovation of appearances, whether by creating entirely imagined characters or teaching their students how to make the elderly look young (or vice-versa).

Here are my picks for the the top makeup artist and design schools in Toronto.

Complections College of Makeup Art & Design
Complections Makeup (CMU) prides themselves in fostering an artist's freedom of expression - because makeup is art, too! The school, tucked quietly onto Lombard St. downtown, is a top destination for students hoping to break into Toronto's film industry. Those who enroll in the Complete Makeup Artist Program will pick up beauty methods for professional fashion photography, applying realistic, artificial facial hair, and designing and constructing original prosthetic creatures.

SOMA (School of Makeup Art)
Put away your eyelash curlers and blush brushes - SOMA's traded those for fake blood, silicone molds, and other eye-catching prosthetics (if you're into cringing at the sight of someone). Aspiring makeup designers can attend a six-month diploma program to learn transformational makeup practices like how to make skin look burned, old, frostbitten, or deformed. If traditional makeup is more your thing, the 36-year-old institution also offers a 3-month long fashion makeup course to teach you how to look normal, too.

Canadian Beauty College
Canadian Beauty College has seven locations across the GTA, including schools in Newmarket, Mississauga, and midtown Toronto. Their makeup artist diploma course has an impressive historical component - students can learn how to apply and identify a range of beauty styles from the 1920s to the present day. Their curriculum also supplements a business degree with marketing and entrepreneurship sections. If you're just looking to get your makeup done, you can book a student to do a basic application ($15), evening look ($20), prom makeup ($25) or bridal look ($30).

While there are many professional makeup artists in the 416 who offer makeup lessons, Paramita is likely the only one that qualifies their studies with the word "bootcamp." The intensive, one-week program covers everything from the beauty basics - skin care, foundation matching, eyeshadow techniques and the like - to developing a solid portfolio and starting a business. Paramita is not locally grown either, instead boasting an international program with locations in Dubai, the Philippines, and New York.

GLOW Academy
GLOW Academy is a M.A.C. preferred institution, which means that if you're brand-loyal and into traditional makeup artistry, GLOW's your best bet. Students can enroll in various levels of training, from a beginner makeup artist's diploma program to advanced bridal, airbrush application, fantasy, and special effects certificates. The tri-location academy (found in Mississauga, Bloor West, and Kitchener-Waterloo) comes with a photography studio, invites to high-end industry events, and a whole lot of zebra print chairs. Score. (If you want makeup help, their students will perform services from a $4 brow cleanup to facials, manicures and makeup application.)

For post-secondary makeup programs in Toronto, check out offerings from Ryerson University, Centennial College and George Brown College.

Writing by Alex Brown.



Galena / July 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm
So by top 5 you mean... all of them (since you mention the post-secondary offerings as well)?

Uh, thanks for saving us a simple Google search Blogto?

Also Paramita is a joke and just feels like a makeup artist thinking "hmm, how can I get money from people who are interested in this as a career, with my not-all-that-extensive background in makeup and the fact that I worked on a Canadian indie when Ellen page was like 15 or something?"
I took the course before attending Complections, more as a taster to see if I liked and and that's really all it is. I mean, what kind of education can you get in a week vs courses that last months. Just compare the portfolios with students from the other schools and you'll see the difference.
And sure, small class size can be a benefit, but as far as I know the classes at the other school aren't huge and it gives you an opportunity to work on a wider variety of faces while you're learning.

Save your money for the better schools or teach yourself with books and lots of practice!
Ashley / July 24, 2014 at 03:27 pm
A friend of mine recommended glow academy after graduating from there and she had great things to say about it. She absolutely loved it. I will be attending glow this fall. Can't wait!
Sarah / July 24, 2014 at 03:47 pm
The only school on that list worth going to is Complections and maybe SOMA. The fact that some of those schools use stock photos for advertising says a lot.

I've had experience with all of them except for Paramita and if you plan on going, make sure you find out a lot about the instructor as well as talk to past students. That's the best way to hear the good and the bad and decide what's best for you.
Sam / July 29, 2014 at 04:58 pm
I've had great experiences at glow. Took some courses originally a few years ago and then went back to take some advanced courses a year later. Shopped around and glow stood out to me in terms of their course offerings and price points. Locations were also easily accessible for those that rely on transit.
Andrew / August 20, 2014 at 02:39 pm
This information is not entirely accurate. I know people that have studied at some of these institutions and the training was not solid. As well you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to learn makeup. Do you homework, there other other schools out there beyond these.

Angela / August 21, 2014 at 09:49 am
You should actually mention about Body Pro beauty & Aesthetics Academy on the list. I have completed my diploma in Aesthetics from this school.

They have very friendly environment in the school.
Rachel replying to a comment from Sarah / August 28, 2014 at 02:59 pm
hi Sarah,

I was wondering about what you had said you have been to all of the school's except Paramita...well what did you think of the Canadian beauty college and the Glow Academy?? because I too am searching for a excellent beauty college and I want to do the proper research to find the best of the best in my vicinity...
Kelly replying to a comment from Rachel / September 2, 2014 at 07:02 pm
Hi Rachel,

I did my research late last year and decided to go with glow academy. They had comprehensive makeup courses, industry placement and professional portfolio shoot included. Also got an amazing makeup kit. Teachers were professionals currently working in the makeup industry too so was very relevant. Do your research, going in for tours is the best way to get a feel for what the school is like. I really enjoyed my experience and will be going back for some more courses next year.
Savannah / September 22, 2014 at 10:50 am
I am a grad from Paramita (from the original program way back in 2003), and have been a busy entrepreneur since. I've also attended the bootcamps as "refresher" courses two separate times in the last 11years, and have been witness as the program constantly evolves and upgrades. The owner/instructor is on top of the current trends and technologies, and is able to make the intensive amount of information easily palatable.
As in all arts industries, being a makeup artist is a career that you have to put 110% effort and creativity into - any arts school will "fail you" if you expect to be handed all knowledge in one go. No artist is able to develop without independent research and a little bit of soul searching.
The industry in Atlantic Canada (where I am) and Toronto are obviously very different, but I've been able to confidently grow my makeup artistry business through my Paramita education.
Sarah / September 22, 2014 at 11:44 am
I attended Paramita in 2008. Since then, I have done makeup for weddings, proms, photo shoots, and film. I thought it was a fantastic course, and Jessica is a knowledgeable instructor who was professional as well as personal. Having a small, yet diverse class was great for one-on-one and I found it to be a fun learning environment.
Besides learning the different styles of makeup, Jessica teaches how best to market yourself as an artist and information on how to be professional in the industry.
It's very apparent that Jessica cares about her students and keeps in touch with them through social media after graduation to answer questions and post job listings. I felt confident in my makeup artist abilities after leaving Paramita.
lovemakeup / September 22, 2014 at 11:52 am
I totally agree with Galena. I attended Paramita and The School of Pro makeup. Paramita is a waste of time and money. It is pretentious to call yourself a professional makeup artist after five days. Did not like anything about Paramita.
lovemakeup / September 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm
P. S. The international branches of Paramita are ran by former Paramita students... anyone can become an owner... after a week at bootcamp. It's so wrong to compare Paramita to other, proper makeup schools. You can't recommend until you attend. This article is based on incomplete info.
Chelsea / September 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm
I attended paramita in 2010. Since completing the course, I have been extremely busy with makeup for many events from bachelorette parties, charity events, weddings, graduations, proms etc.

If it wasn't for Jessica, I would have had no idea how to market myself as a makeup artist and promote my business. She has answered many questions for me long after I graduated from school, and has sent people to me with job postings in my area.

Not only is she a wonderful person and teacher, she genuinely cares about each and every one of her students.

I recommend paramita or everyone of my friends and everyone who is interested in learning all of the fundamentals of makeup.
Christa / September 22, 2014 at 07:02 pm
I attended the Paramita Academy of Makeup in 2013.

I currently work fulltime as Paramedic. I have been an artist my entire life, including graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University in NB. Like any form of education -- one must continue to educate themselves. The day you stop learning, and asking questions is the day it is time to move on to new endeavors. The Paramita provides small, intimate class sizes. One on one instruction, and the opportunity to work on faces from all walks of life.

Jessica is extremely personable, knowledgeable, educated, experienced, up to date and not to mention worldly. She has literally travelled the world promoting not only her school, but the art of makeup artistry. It is absolutely clear that she is passionate about what she does and puts her heart and soul into her school.

Regardless of your school of choice --- it is what you make of it that will depict the artist you will become. You can't expect to be hand fed every single piece of information regarding makeup / trends / techniques in a week... a month... or even a year. One does not become an artist over night. If makeup artistry is a serious interest, and you are looking to select a school and dive into the industry, you must prepare yourself. Research. Learn. Immerse yourself. It is not for everyone. It is a fine art.

And this applies to any profession. I work day in and day out looking to improve myself as a health care professional (paramedic), a makeup artist, and an artist.

I network with Paramedics, and artists around the world, on a daily basis. I research, I attend seminars, and I put my skills to work. If you are passionate about what you do, you will never stop learning and evolving.

There are always going to be pros and cons when it comes to choosing a school that is the best fit for you. "Bigger" doesn't necessarily mean better.

Jessica has truly made a name for herself in the makeup world. She has been available at the drop of a hat to answer a question or critique some work.

Jessica has helped me fulfill my dream of becoming a professional makeup artist. Medic by day, makeup artist by night!

Sophai / September 22, 2014 at 08:41 pm
I took the Paramita Makeup Academy course in 2012. My sister took the course two years earlier. She was already a hairstylist working at an upscale salon in Toronto, but left the city to begin her own business specializing in hair and makeup for weddings in Niagara Falls. Since completing this course, I have had such great opportunity to assist my sister with her rapidly growing business. I am so thankful that I took this course to obtain a new skill that has helped me financially and has allowed me to grow in another area aside from my nursing career. It was a great couse for learning beauty and bridal makeup application. I do not believe one to be pretentious for calling herself a makeup artist after one week of training. Obviously, as with any profession, learning continues after course completion through practice in the field of study. Paramita gives a great foundation for proper makeup application techniques, skin care for all ages and skin types, marketing and professionalism. I have seen makeup applications from artists who have finished one or more years of school that is not always quality or beautiful makeup. You don't necessarily benefit from a $5000 college two year program. Paramita is reasonably priced and teaches the necessities of beauty and bridal makeup. Take the course, then practice often to master the skill of makeup artistry. This profession will always require continued growth, no matter how much education. And sometimes less is more. It was a great course for me and for my sister.
Janice / September 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm
I enrolled at glow academy last year. I took their bridal makeup course at the mississauga location. The teachers were good and were actively working in the industry. Also had professional portfolio shoots included with my course which was great. All in all it was a good experience for me and I plan on taking more courses at glow in the future.
Alyssa / October 1, 2014 at 08:30 pm
I chose glow academy for fashion makeup classes I took earlier this year. The staff was professional and accommodating when it came to payment flexibility and scheduling class dates. The atmosphere of the school was great. They also did a professional portfolio shoot for the students to add to their portfolios which really helps with securing jobs after graduation. The school was also able to plug me into a fashion show and a beauty pageant for industry experience which I loved!

All in all, I was very happy with glow and have recommended to a few people looking to get into makeup.
Chanti / November 6, 2014 at 06:47 am
I'm looking to get into an accredited beauty school what would your recommendations be. I'd love to hear from anyone!
Ruby D replying to a comment from Chanti / November 8, 2014 at 02:29 pm
Hi Chanti,

I did my research late earlier this year and decided to go with glow academy. They had comprehensive makeup courses, industry placement and professional portfolio shoot included. Also got an amazing makeup kit. Teachers were professionals currently working in the makeup industry too so was very relevant. I really enjoyed my experience and will be going back for some more courses next year.
Sandra / November 13, 2014 at 02:03 pm
I would NEVER suggest going to CMU College. Yes, at one point they were an amazing school to attend with phenomenal instructions. Since changing owners they are now held by a disgusting corrupt woman with deep pockets and no real industry experience. They only want to see you an overprice program ....
Emily / December 14, 2014 at 02:07 pm
Whoever is writing suggesting to go to glow must work for the company. Awful customer service. Most disorganized placements I have ever seen.

Went to a placement where the clients asked for 5 makeup artists and the school booked over 10. Made myself and the school look extremely unprofessional.

Went to another placement and they overbooked again. Did not even get to do any makeup applications.

Went to another placement where the clients told that there was going to be hairstylist there when nobody was booked to come. Totally putting the production behind and leaving the client screwed.

Not enough classroom hours to get confident in your skills. The makeup kit is of very questionable quality.

Do not go to glow. Beware.

makeup4life replying to a comment from Emily / December 16, 2014 at 06:19 pm
Attended glow earlier this year for a couple of their makeup courses and planning on taking some of their Hair classes next year. I have found that placements do tend to be hectic in general from the few I've been too as there tend to be a lot of last minute changes and even scrambling from the event organizers on the day of the event. I've been to a couple of events now on my own too as a freelancer and it's no different. Seems to be the nature of the beast in this industry, with live functions/events there are usually tight timelines involved and with unforeseen delays it does tend to throw things off and get hectic, but the show must go on!

With makeup being an art form, it took me hours and hours of practice on my own to feel confident and industry ready. I find all makeup schools will teach you the theory and basic concepts with some practice. How good of a makeup artist you become and how far you take it is really up to you.

What I would say to someone looking to enroll at a makeup school. Do your research, each school operates differently (I toured 3 of the schools listed on this list before enrolling). You just have to figure out which one works and is the right one for you. Based on the comments, its clear that one size doesn't fit all here.
Emily replying to a comment from makeup4life / December 17, 2014 at 08:32 pm
I agree with you that the industry can be chaotic but when I went to placements I felt like the clients were upset at me for something that Glow failed to do. Making myself and the other artists look unprofessional.

Example being not sending a hairstylist and overbooking way too many makeup artists.

When I was at placements heard from other Glow Students different laundry list of complaints. Everything from not receiving the makeup carrier that is included in the cost of the course to not receiving pictures from the shoot that they did.

If Glow wishes to continue they need to put their students needs first. Not make everything such a hassle. Have a shorter waiting period to receive photos. Do not have practicals that the students are untrained to do.

makeup4life / December 17, 2014 at 09:31 pm
Hi Emily,

We really did have very different experiences.

I didn't really encounter any of the issues you mentioned. I took a total of 3 makeup courses at glow

The makeup kit purchase was optional, which is why not all students have it. The students that bought the kit definitely did have an advantage over the ones that didn't. I wasn't planning on buying the kit at first, but I did end up buying it as it made sense to buy the kit as it would have cost me a whole lot more if I had attempted to create the kit on my own. Also logically it made sense to me, that if I'm entering a new industry, I should have the tools to be able to do proper work in the industry. The practical experiences really put some meat on my resume though, which was one of the reasons I chose glow.

My portfolio pictures, I received them within 4 weeks of the shoot date. They do a lot of shoots for their students for various courses, so you do have to wait a bit for them, but it was so worth it, didn't mind waiting for them as they turned out really good and it was also one of the reasons I chose glow, due to their comprehensive portfolio shoots that showcased my work.

I'm back at glow next year for some more courses. glow works for me.

I guess each school operates differently and has different strengths. You just have to find the one that has strengths that line up with what you are looking for and expecting.
Chantal / January 6, 2015 at 06:08 am
Anyone who attended the SOMA academy knows the tuition e students fee?
Thanks you in advance
Panesar / January 8, 2015 at 07:39 am
Hi ladies I attended glow but friendly speaking there price is good but not the courses. They don't care about you later on it's just a money or fee they want. You can learn more through youtube or books rather than wasting time and money at this academy.
Panesar / January 8, 2015 at 07:43 am
And about shoot pics they never gave u original Pics it's compressed which u can't even use for you website. They just email you all the compressed pics 😁so annoying and some of our pics got missed too we never got them it's been 4 years now so better check yourself before going to any school as it's your time and your money involved.
Lilyboo / January 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Anyone know the pricing of courses at Paramita?
Sangeeta / January 9, 2015 at 06:53 pm
I attended glow academy recently in this past summer. Enjoyed my overall experience there. Class sizes weren't too big and the instructors were makeup artists actively working in the industry, which was really important to me. I wanted to learn from people working in the industry that weren't just teachers in classrooms.

Scheduling worked well with me as they were one of the only ones that have the evening and weekends classes as I work full time during the days.

One of the key selling point for me was their portfolio shoots. I had a portfolio shoot included with every makeup course I took, including Airbrush course. All my pictures turned out really nice. They provide you with web resolution images of all of your shoots and high resolution can be requested if you want to blow up any of the images.

All in all, I had a good experience with this school. My cousin is joining them this year for makeup courses.
Alley replying to a comment from Rachel / January 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm
I too am wondering about Canadian Beauty College. What particularly intrigued me was this statement: "Their curriculum also supplements a business degree with marketing and entrepreneurship sections" Anyone have any experience with Canadian Beauty College? Also tuition fees for both Canadian Beauty College and GLOW? I will be definitely heeding the advice on this page by continuing to research and visiting each school but vary curious about Canadian Beauty College. Thanks!
Brook / January 25, 2015 at 10:49 am
Any feedback regarding SOMA? Its 2nd on the list after CMU.
Brook / January 25, 2015 at 10:50 am
Interested in getting information or feedback from previous students of SOMA. Looking at SOMA or CMU as my options.
Brandy replying to a comment from Brook / January 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm
Hi Brook,

This list isn't in any particular order, which is why the schools aren't numbered or ranked. They've just simply listed the top 5 schools in no particular order. Best would be to contact each school and gather their information before deciding on which school to go to.
Abby / February 19, 2015 at 08:28 pm
What about the courses Ryerson and Sheridan offer, has anyone taken these?
Divergence replying to a comment from Abby / February 21, 2015 at 01:51 pm
Hey Abby I was wondering the same thing. I was thinking the post secondary route after reading reviews on some of the courses. I just read this blog which is really old(2008) about someone who attended Ryerson which was taught by Jane Stevenson. She had good things to say about the program.

I also checked the Ryerson Site and it says this:

Jane is currently a make-up artist with CBC Television. Her past credits include make-up work on The Twilight Zone, History Bites, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and the long-running stage musical Cats.

It looks to be alright if she is still working for CBC and still teaching at Ryerson but who knows.
Brianne replying to a comment from Abby / February 23, 2015 at 08:39 pm
Hi Abby,

I would personally suggest if you are looking to learn Makeup, then take it at a school that specializes in Makeup as opposed to a college where they have makeup as a subject thrown in with all sorts of other classes. A college makeup course can't compare to a specialized makeup school's makeup course that is all they do, so huge difference, even more so when it comes to learning an art form which is what makeup. In terms of Instructors, make sure they people who are actually working as makeup artists and not just teaching it. Also they shouldn't be too old as many are resistant to the new way of doing things and new techniques which I find can hold you back at times.
Yulia / February 24, 2015 at 09:26 pm
If you are looking for good beauty school I can recommend - they specialize on eyelash extensions, hair extensions, permanent makeup and some aesthetic procedures!
nuando instant lift / March 27, 2015 at 06:33 am
If you want to get a good deal from this article then you have to apply such methods to your won website.

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal