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Dolores B. Canlas: A Filipina Style Magnate in Norway

BY: Luz Bergersen in Oslo, Norway

PHOTO CREDIT: Dolly Canlas

Dolores B. Canlas, nicknamed, Dolly is a Filipina hairdresser par excellence and owner and CEO of her own Dollybee Salons in Norway. She shares her inspiring story with Roots & Wings readers.

From humble beginnings in Tarlac City, Canlas has worked her way up to become an international and respected hairdresser. She has taken hairdressing courses, built up her knowledge and skills, and worked in Manila and many countries. Her skills and hard work have brought her to many high-end salons not only in Manila but abroad. Today she is a well-known and much-sought-after hairdresser in Norway.

From home service to a smaller salon in Oslo, Canlas has now grown to a main salon, with a branch in Bærum and another salon in Trondheim. On the family side, her children are all grown up and professionals in their own right. Today, she is happily settled with her Norwegian husband. “I have found my forever love,” she says.

Canlas would like to help Filipino hairdressers come to Norway to work for her salon in order to establish a unique hairdressing salon run by Filipinos. She invites everyone to visit her salon for a free hair analysis and advice about hair types. We wish her well and the best of luck!

When did you start taking hairdressing courses?

Life was very hard. At the age of 9 years old, I worked as a house helper, in exchange for my elementary school studies. I was very young when my eyes were opened to the hardships of life. I am the eldest girl and the fourth eldest in a brood of 11 siblings.

I started to learn hairdressing at the age of 12 in the small barangay of Kalaklan, Olongapo City. It was my lola (grandmother), whit whom I stayed as a house helper, who convinced me to study hairdressing because she always liked to have her hair curled.

At the age of 14 years old, I learned to do “home service" to neighbours, and already earned money. When I was in high school, even my teachers made bookings for my service after school hours. At 18 years old, I got married, and in 1998 we transferred and lived in Manila.

Please tell us about your journey in Manila.

My first job was as a manicurist in Adriatico, Manila. It was a World Class Salon. Then I worked in SLimmers World International at Pan Pacific Hotel Manila, then BCBG Salon as a manicurist, located at 6750 Ayala Makati, where you can find Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, and expensive shops and jewellry. It is also close to Shangri La Hotel, Glorieta, Rustans and Landmark.

I learned a lot in BCBG. From being a manicurist, I moved to junior stylist. After all the hair training, I registered my name. In 2020, my boss, Teng Roma, promoted me to senior lady barber and stylist at Emphasis Salon Rockwell. At the same time, I also had my own salon located at Manuguit Subdivision in Manila.

When did you realise that you wanted to go and work abroad?

I realised hat my skills can be my passport to work abroad. Some people said, “You cannot work abroad because you did not finish college”. At that time, I was very positive. It took time for me to fix my passport because I was late in registering my name in the civil register, but I pursued until I succeeded. 

At first I tried to go to Hong Kong, and I applied to work with a Filipina who has a salon in Cathay Airport and Central Hong Kong. I worked with her, and I was so proud because the customers were mostly international pilots and stewardesses. In 2002, I signed a contract in Dubai for two years. But I did not finish my contract because of the long working hours that took a toll on my health until I had an emergency. Idecided to go back to the Philippines.

In 2004, I joined a partnership to register a school under SEC and ESTA with many courses, like caregiver, IT, hairdressing, and more.  I was teaching in the hairdressing department. It was a good experience, because some of my students have been using their skills abroad.

One day, I got an offer in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. My employer has four salons in the UAE.  I used to work in three of his salons because of my multiple skills. I worked around schedules from different places in Sheraton Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi, Hilton Hotel in Jumeirah Dubai, and a place where all the VIPs, like international ambassadors, sheikas, and sheiks have a big fitness club located in Abu Dhabi.

Then, I worked with La Rosy Health & Fitness in Abu Dhabi, a salon for ladies only, which has a Filipina owner and a staff of 19.

How did you arrive in Norway?

In 2012, I came to Norway for a short visit. It was a fateful visit, for I ended up staying for good in 2013. I registered my business in 2014.

In business, the most important thing is to do a good job and have satisfied customers. A good reputation is the best marketing tool.

As a specialist and hair technician for all types of hair internationally, “learning by doing, knowledge and experience” are my mottos. With courage and ability, one day your dreams become a reality as long as you are dedicated to your purpose. I will continue with my next goal in Norway, which is to teach hairdressers in Norway, and for our kababayans who have an interest in the hair business.


DollyBee Salon is also the distributor of hair grooming products, among them the brand Shine Moist. "I am the sole distributor in Norway and the whole of Scandinavia," Canlas says. "Before I could sell the products, I had to register these in Mattilsynet and the European Portal first under my business name.

We have products for hair rebonding, quality shampoos, conditioners, treatments, hair colouring, and hair styling all available in my shop for salon or home use.” To order for store pickup or shipping within Scandinavia, contact Canlas at her Facebook page, “DollyBee Frisør Health and Beauty.” You can also visit any of her three salons, located at Kirkeveien 166, 0450 Ullevål Kiwi, Oslo; Balders vei, 23,1344 Haslum Bærum, or Nonnegate 32,7014 Trondheim.


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