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Personal Development

A Career in Beauty Care with Mrs. Arlette Knight-Olton


. Arlette Knight-Olton is a highly trained trichologist and cosmetologist, and the owner and operator of 101 Style salon in Barbados. As a hairstylist Arlette has worked for decades in the beauty industry advancing her skills, and on a daily basis works with natural hair, hair colouring on a master level, texturizers, relaxers, perms of all types and any other possible thing that can be done to hair. Arlette’s skill set enables her to manage and meet the hair needs of all her clients. Arlette is also the President of the Barbados Beauty Professionals Association (BBPA). 

(Read more  about the BBPA in our Rethink article: http……)


Arlette often shares that she has been in this profession for thirty years, in actuality, she has been in the industry for closer to forty years. She always desired to become a Clinical Psychologist or a Cosmetologist, the latter won the battle, however, years later Arlette completed training in professional counselling. Arlette was always passionate about and very involved in the beauty industry, knowing exactly what she wanted to do. Initially, she trained in Barbados but eventually travelled throughout the USA for international training. Overseas, she obtained training at Dudley Cosmetology University, and then in 1997 she studied at The International Institute of Trichology. Prior to this, Arlette received one full year’s training as an apprentice before going into her own business in 1977. 

Arlette shared that she loves her profession and said that her clients are her friends and family. They often look to her for advice outside of cosmetology because she is also a trained counsellor. Her relationship with her clients is based on trust and her advice is valued. Arlette’s clients look forward to her updated training each year because she always comes back with something fresh and new. 


Arlette was first trained as a cosmetologist and because of her love for education and knowledge, she was then led to become a trichologist. Arlette trained for approximately four years for this certification, which also involved 20 hours of clinical work. Part of the course dealt with nutrition as a well balanced diet is important, even to haircare.


Female hands of a young woman doctor trichologist holding beautiful curly hair of pretty African
Female hands of a young woman doctor trichologist holding beautiful curly hair of pretty African

Arlette explained that trichologists focus on scalp disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, thinning hair, hair loss, diseases of the scalp, etc. They bridge the gap between a dermatologist and a general practitioner. A trichologist can work along with the doctor to ensure that the client is using a holistic approach to their scalp issue. It is important to make the client comfortable if experiencing scalp discomfort. Therefore, medications may be prescribed by the doctor. However, working in partnership with the trichologist the client can also be guided regarding various hair products and their diet amongst other details that may also address the cause of the hair/scalp issue.

According to Arlette a clean scalp is a healthy scalp and some issues can start from within. She highlighted two sources of problems:

  • FOOD: Some of the foods we eat can trigger problems with our scalps. 
  • PRODUCTS: Using the wrong types of products can also be very detrimental; for e.g. a person may have an itchy scalp and decides to use an anti-dandruff shampoo or a prescribed medicated shampoo from the doctor. These products may very well take care of the scalp but end up causing hair loss. The person may not have been initially suffering from hair loss, but a particular shampoo may cause dryness, leading to hair breakage.  

Arlette offered up the following solutions:

  • Seek professional help instead of trying to diagnose issues yourself. 
  •  Avoid certain hair products as advised by professionals.
  • Manage your stress levels, this is vital.
  • Shampoo your hair weekly or every two weeks.


Arlette shared that with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has seen many people re-transition to natural hair. Conversely, many others are also transitioning to chemically processed hair as managing natural hair takes great commitment. The truth is that it takes commitment to manage any type of hair, but it is more time consuming to manage natural hair, as it’s not an instant fix. 

People are now more open to wearing their natural hair in ways that may not have been embraced before. The key thing that matters though, is that your hair is healthy regardless of its natural or chemical state. Arlette believes that if a person wants to wear their hair natural, this should indeed be accepted as a personal choice and not based on someone else’s opinion. Wigs and braids are also trending at the moment.

Hair in the Corporate World

Arlette noted that natural hair is clearly being embraced more now than before, even in the corporate setting where it faced resistance in prior years. Arlette believes that as long as the hairstyle is tidy and professional, it should be allowed without debate. Many more people in banks and corporate offices are seen wearing their hair however they choose. However, workers still need to be mindful of extreme hair colours and highlights which can cause a distraction by placing more attention on the worker and less on the service being offered. 


Arlette did very well despite the effects of the pandemic. She said that it even brought some blessings for her in the midst of some negative outcomes. At her age, she thought it best to downsize and the pandemic allowed her to accomplish this task. She now has a much smaller salon which serves her quite well. During the pandemic, she kept communicating with her clients and taught them how to manage their own hair. Arlette is confident in saying that she is now back to pre-covid times.

When asked about her next steps, Arlette shared that she plans to pass on the knowledge gathered throughout her 30 plus years in the beauty industry. As a Certified Teacher of Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, she will transition to teaching individuals now entering the beauty industry, and also assist with the upgrading of skills for those who have been in the industry longer.  


Landline: (246) 427-1719

Mobile: (246) 266-2629 



Address: 101 Style Ocean 15 Hotel, Dover Gardens, St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, Bridgetown, Barbados, BB15028

Find out more about the BBPA on their website:

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