Great Lengths Educators and Guest Artists are some of the best in the beauty game. We spoke with Danielle Keasling (@danielle.keasling), one of Great Length’s Guest Artists as well as Matrix US Artistic Director and owner of Salon Karma in Bluffton, South Carolina, to get insight on what she does for Great Lengths, what inspired her to get into the hair business, and much more!
GL: Tell us a bit about yourself—how long have you been doing hair?
DK: I’ve been doing hair for 17 years. I own a salon in Bluffton, South Carolina and I am an artistic director for Matrix. I work for CBC (Christopher Benson Collective) and I’m a guest artist for Great Lengths.
GL: What made you want to start doing hair?
DK: I always had a passion for doing hair as a little girl. I grew up chopping my friends’ hair in the bathroom and then it came to realizing I’m actually good at it. People were asking me to do their hair instead of going to the salon and then moms were asking me to cut their hair because their daughters had good haircuts! And then I finally went to beauty school.
GL: What made you want to dabble in extensions?
DK: My best girlfriend, and I lived in a smaller town at the time and she wore extensions. One day I was doing her hair and said “these are killing you hair, like ripping your hair up”. I finally talked her into taking them out and letting me rebuild her hair. She always wore her hair long—she was a long haired person. But she listened to me, saying “you’re right”. After about a month going extensionless, she came to me and she was freaking out and super depressed saying “I need to have hair I can’t do this anymore. I have to go get them put back in”. I asked her PLEASE do not go get them back in. So she got online and researched hair extension companies and called me saying “There’s this hair extension company called Great Lengths and it’s supposed to be non-damaging, the best product out there” and so on. So I said I’d look into it. She said she would pay for me to go get educated [Great Lengths certified]. So I said alright, I’ll go. And I fell in love with the brand the first day I was there. ( Editor’s note: On average 1 in every 15 hairdressers who attend the Great Lengths 3-day Certification have had their tuition paid for by a client wanting Great Lengths extensions.)
GL: Did you notice any notable differences between GL and other lines of hair extensions?
DK: I tell stylists this and I tell clients this: I can always take any other extensions company on the market and convert one of their clients to Great Lengths. I could NEVER talk a Great Lengths client into using anything else. They hands down won’t do it. It’s a totally different animal.
GL: What would you say is the biggest difference?
DK: The quality of the hair and the bond. I actually went and got certified after Great Lengths with another company. And [those extensions] weren’t inexpensive but the bond just dissolved. When I remove a Great Lengths application that’s been in 5 or 6 months, I still really have to work to get them out. It’s amazing, it really is. There’s nothing that can touch it.
GL: What do you do as a Great Lengths Guest Artist?
DK: Basically I’m a consultant. As a director of shows and events with another company, I’m in charge of the visual representation of a product and putting on a show. I have a theater background, a dance background—so putting on a show is what I like to do. I also do a lot of session work—like photoshoots—so being able to take the creative side of beautiful hair and pushing it towards something more editorial, fashion forward, or avant-garde.
GL: How did you get to be a guest artist at Great Lengths?
DK: I actually entered the “Great Lengths Challenge” the second year it was put on and I got to the finals. Then the third year it was put on I got to the finals in all three categories. So then, Brett [Butcher, Great Length USA National Program Director] approached me saying “I know you do a lot of session work, we really love your work, would you be interested in doing something with us?”
GL: Who would be your dream client to do hair for?
DK: I appreciate runway beauty, not necessarily the typical American-Girl beauty but exotic looks. I don’t want to say a girl who looks like an alien but I love those features and structures of their face. So generally, runway models. It’s not one particular girl. I love to work with the fashion industry and that particular structure.
GL: What’s a hairstyle you wish would die?
DK: The Farrah Faucett-y, shaggy ‘do. It just feels so old to me. I have a hard time trying to make that feel modern or edgy.
GL: Tell us a hair horror story of yours.
DK: I had this poor client come in to me who had just gotten her hair done by someone at another salon and they bleached her about 3 times, put toners on her, and she had blisters all over her scalp—and then they put extensions in on top of it. When she came into my salon, she was still platinum yellow and she wanted to be white and her hair in her entire crown area had broken off into about 2 inches. And her extensions were about 20 inches long. So I talked her through the whole process of color and extensions. She’s been a client ever since. And after 2 ½ years, the crown of the hair now is just to her shoulders and she has beautiful hair.