Inspiring People

Why You Must Do Your Research Before Booking a Lash Extension Appointment, According to Envious Lashes’ Clementina Richardson

Envious Lashes Founder Clementina Richardson

Clementina Richardson is a master of many things: the art of eyelash extensions, building a business, and defying aging. But most of all, the Envious Lashes® founder is a master of grabbing life by the proverbial balls and showing it who’s boss. Even when the world seemingly had other plans for her, Richardson has time and again taken control of her own destiny and forged her own path.

Born in the Bahamas to a poor, uneducated family, she knew early on that if she wanted a real shot at success, she’d have to leave the island. “People always think it’s so beautiful there, but there’s no money,” she says. “The only opportunity there is work at the resorts or at the banks.” She determined she’d have more of a chance of success if she relocated, and, after spending every summer as a teen with her sister in New York, she decided to stay for good once graduating high school. Richardson was long interested in beauty, and felt that cosmetology school would be a natural next step. In the face of its costly tuition, she opted for much-cheaper nail school instead. 

She soon fell in love with doing nails, but still wanted something else to supplement her income. While working at a Long Island salon, she saw how much money there was to be made in eyelash extensions (which were beginning to take off in nearby Manhattan) and asked the owner if she could try doing them. Richardson trained herself, all the while growing more and more obsessed with lashes. “The funny thing is that I was disgusted with eyeballs,” she says with a laugh, “and now, I spend all day around them!”

Within a few years, Richardson developed a large following across Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey, and secured a stellar reputation for her lash extension work. She became determined to open her own luxury salon that would cater to high-end clientele, but she knew she’d have to differentiate herself somehow. After speaking with various clients and hearing them all clamor for almond-shaped eyes, Richardson realized that everyone wanted their eyes to be more open. “After years of doing lash extensions, I knew that I could make clients’ eyes appear this way by using this curl, this type of lash, by placing it here on the eye,” she recalls. “I’m all about shaping and lifting the eyes.” 

After renting space at a salon for about two years, Richardson opened her first official Envious Lashes location in 2011 on Fifth Avenue in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, while simultaneously maintaining a suite in Long Island. Over the course of the next seven years, she would build an incredible roster of international and celebrity clientele — including Naomi Campbell and Mary J. Blige — and become one of the leading eyelash extension artists in the world. Richardson has since moved Envious Lashes to a beautiful space in Midtown and also opened an expansive Long Island salon. “I never felt that lash extensions were going to be as huge as they are today,” she says. But 21 employees and two locations later, with national expansion on the horizon, it seems safe to say that Envious Lashes is as big a success as the lash trend itself. Read on to learn more about Richardson’s rise to the top, her favorite eyelash styles, and how she makes 47 look more like 27.