In 2016, at the age of 25, Elyse Ihirwe was involved in a nasty car accident which left her face scarred and her confidence dented. Other parts of the body including her legs were equally affected. She was hospitalized for four months and it took her a whole one year to recover from the trauma the accident caused. For a young woman with her whole future still ahead of her, Ihirwe felt hard done by the accident, which affected her appearance as well as self-esteem. It is a struggle most people who survive accidents go through. While Ihirwe, now 31, was able to heal, it took her a while to come to terms with her new face, which now had patches while her eye, which she nearly lost in the accident, had to be reconstructed. Ihirwe tried out several products and treatments to get rid of the scars, which made her uncomfortable and often reminded her of the nasty accident which claimed her life. Her story is one of venturing out to find a solution to her problem but ended up getting involved in the business. Someone directed her to a shop which had certain products that clear scars, imported by a company known as Forever Living company. “I was simply looking for a solution to my problem because in 2016, I had a terrible car crash and I was left broken. My self-confidence was down because of my skin,” recalls Ihirwe “I was deeply sad about my face because you know, when you are a woman, you need to always look beautiful. I was sad about that,” she adds. When she eventually landed on the products made from natural herbs such as soap made out of aloe vera and jojoba oil and they helped heal her scars, she never looked back. When she discovered the many benefits of the natural product, she wanted to share with others. It was her Godmother Elizabeth Mukandamutsa, 49, who introduced her into the skincare business after the car accident, little did she know that they would end up becoming business partners. Today, the duo has a shop at Sonatube where they distribute a range of beauty and health products, particularly those that help people with different skin conditions. Most of their products are imported from the U.S. From oils to shampoo to moisturisers and remedies for acne and allergies, Ihirwe found herself deeply venturing into selling skin care products for women, men and children. Advice on skin care Following her own experience, Ihirwe believes that there is no skin condition that cannot be cured but one has to know their skin type, the condition they have and what can really help. She literally knows what each and everyone needs, depending on the skin, what cleanses and detoxifies, what works with what weather. “The most important thing is to know the type of your skin. If you suffer from dry skin, it is important to know which cream or moisturiser to apply and also this goes with the weather at the time,” Ihirwe advises. Thanks to her own experience, she has been able to help people who approached her with certain skin conditions and it's something she does with a passion. Often, she gets positive feedback from people after they heal and start regaining confidence. For Ihirwe, taking care of your skin is something many people don’t pay attention to but it speaks a lot to people who see you and how you feel inside. It all starts with good looking skin. A second chance, journey to self-care If there is one thing that the accident taught Ihirwe was to pay attention to her health and life in general, developing a sense of consciousness on what to eat or put in her body. “I had an inspiration to live a healthy life from this accident. I take care of myself, starting with the skin and I also take time to educate myself on what to eat or even what I do with my life,” says Ihirwe. Surviving the accident and the scars are a reminder that she got a second chance on life and it is something she cannot take for granted. Having taken up to a year to recover, Ihirwe has every reason to live her life to the fullest. The mother of two advises women to take care of themselves before taking care of anyone else. She points out that the only thing most women know is to take care of others and not themselves. “When you take care of yourself, you can actually take care of your family and other people you love even better because you get to love yourself. It also makes you self-confident,” Ihirwe says. “I know women love to help others, which is important but they sometimes forget themselves. So, my advice is, love yourself, take care of yourself to be healthy inside and outside in order to be the strong and successful woman you want to be,” she adds. Born in the Southern Province 31 years ago, Ihirwe’s dream was to grow up and become her own boss and it is a dream she is slowly achieving. Not even the nasty accident could stand in her way. You can check out her shop in CHIC building, 2nd floor to support her dream.