The sprawling metropolis of Toronto, Ontario has rightfully earned its nickname of “The Big Smoke” – skyscrapers, planes, and the CN Tower all compete for attention along the skyline. Not only is Toronto the most populous city in Canada, it’s also an incredible location for a makeup artist to start their career.
So how can you become a makeup artist in this exciting city? Stick with us as we take you on a tour of one of the most exciting and cultured cities in North America. Buckle up for a trip to Toronto!
Where to Work in Toronto
Industries: Retail, Bridal, Entertainment
Preferred Makeup Jobs: High-end, elegant bridal makeup, glamour makeup
Our journey begins in one of Toronto’s most affluent neighborhoods. While Yorkville was home to musicians and artists in the 1960s and 70s, it has undergone a huge transformation over the years and is now one of Canada’s most exclusive shopping districts.
Starting your makeup career along the ritzy streets of this neighborhood will allow you to specialize in bridal makeup and provide beauty tips and wedding looks to high-end clientele. Yorkville is also an area frequented by celebrities, so if you aspire to a job as a celebrity makeup artist, this is the place for you.
Location: Dundas West
Industries: Retail and Entertainment
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Creative makeup, everyday makeup
As a true testament to the diversity of Toronto’s neighborhoods and culture, Dundas West is a totally different area than Yorkville. Street art adorns walls and homes, and a plethora of restaurants, hair studios, and art workshops line the street. If one of your reasons for becoming a makeup artist was to stretch your creative muscles, this is the neighborhood for you!
Mix and mingle with local artists and network at art-related events, or connect with other creative types in the nightlife scene. The sky is the limit when it comes to makeup artistry on Dundas West, as you’ll be in the company of artists, free spirits, and colorful inspiration.
Location: Entertainment District
Industries: Retail, Entertainment, Live Shows
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Creative and glamour makeup, high-end, bridal makeup
Toronto is often referred to as “Hollywood North”, which is a hugely complimentary (and well-earned) nickname that comes from the Broadway shows that visit its many theaters. The majority of Toronto’s large theaters are concentrated in the Entertainment District, which is also home to sports venues and other attractions. If you love the thought of using a variety of color palettes to apply stage makeup, the lights of Toronto’s Entertainment District are beckoning you.
A career as a makeup artist is so versatile that you could shift your focus in a few years and still remain in this area of the city – perhaps moving from theatrical makeup to bridal makeup instead. How exciting!
Location: Yonge & Eglinton
Industries: Retail and Entertainment
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Bridal makeup, everyday makeup
Just north of the downtown core is the buzzing intersection of Yonge & Eglinton, an area known for its towering condos, office towers, and exciting entertainment scene. Known affectionately as “Young & Eligible”, Yonge & Eglinton is full of young professionals who are just beginning their careers or are moderately established.
If you choose to become a makeup artist in this midtown spot, you’ll meet professional individuals with money to spend on gorgeous everyday makeup looks, as well as brides-to-be who are looking for the perfect bridal makeup. Either way, you’ll be in the company of young, up-and-coming clients, and what’s not to love about that?
Location: Bloor West Village
Industries: Retail, Entertainment
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Freelance makeup artistry, everyday makeup, creative makeup
Just slightly west of downtown is a lovely neighborhood filled with cafes, restaurants, small shops, and a quaint atmosphere. Bloor West Village is the perfect area for aspiring makeup artists to freelance, as there are many residential streets full of working professionals. There’s also potential for makeup jobs in the small boutiques along Bloor Street.
The pace is slightly slower here than in other neighborhoods, so makeup artists who want the best of both worlds (living in a busy city but tucked away in a quiet borough) should start their makeup career in Bloor West Village.
Toronto Makeup Artists to Follow
Highly creative makeup artist Ankita Bhardwaj is a fresh-faced makeup guru whose Instagram account is a beautiful mix of Indian-inspired looks and natural makeup. Her main focus is on confidence and acceptance of who she is, which an empowering message for her followers.
Makeup artist, educator, and former skincare specialist Joan Huang is one of Toronto’s most sought-after artists. And no wonder! She has over 10 years of experience under her (makeup) belt, and this is clearly demonstrated in the stunning photos on her website and Instagram account.
Her ability to always stay on top of trends is due in part to her experience working for brands such as Dior, NARS, Lancome and Armani, and she always shares her secrets with clients so they are in the know.
As the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York Canada, a role she’s held since 2012, Grace Lee knows a thing or two about beauty. She’s a familiar face, as well – she makes frequent appearances on the Toronto talk show Cityline and has worked with various celebrities. Her Instagram account boasts over 17,000 followers and is a mix of her gorgeous makeup work and her beautiful family! Be sure to follow Grace to add some seriously positive scenes (and inspirational makeup looks) to your daily feed.
Celebrity makeup artist Rita Stirpe is a force to be reckoned with. Not only does she have over 12 years of experience in the business, her work has been featured in magazines such as Glow, City Life, and Dolce Vita. She is currently a makeup instructor in a college.
The gallery of work featured on Rita’s website is a unique and gorgeous collection of bridal, editorial, every day, and creative makeup looks that will undoubtedly inspire all makeup artists!
The family that applies makeup together stays together! Canvas Makeup & Hair is run by three talented sisters that do bridal makeup, as well as makeup for special events. Their website allows visitors to get to know them each on a personal level, and showcases their amazing portfolio. By just glancing at their Instagram account, it’s clear that they all possess a wide range of makeup skills, and can get seriously creative with their looks!
As the leader of one of the largest studios in Toronto specializing in makeup and hair, Jen Evoy is well-known as a professional makeup artist. Her talented team offers a staggering range of services at their salon in Etobicoke, including bridal makeup, hairstyling, lashes, brows and hair extensions. Jen herself offers makeup artist courses in both group and one-on-one lessons, so her studio is truly a one-stop shop!
Follow Jen Evoy on Instagram to be totally blown away by her talented team and their commitment to quality!
A Makeup Artist’s Salary in Toronto
The average salary in Toronto for a makeup artist is $34,060 in Canadian Dollars. This number can change drastically, however, depending on the specialization you choose in your makeup career. Hitting up the high-end clientele of Toronto’s suburbs and corporate offices can make you a pretty penny.
As mentioned above, Toronto has many exciting, diverse neighborhoods. You can specialize in bridal makeup, theater makeup, everyday makeup, or freelance in the neighborhood of your choice! Depending on your level of experience and location, your salary can look vastly different than the average.
To work in a big city, you’ll need as much training as possible from makeup artistry courses, experience, and networking with the pros!