By Liz Petoniak
Photography: Michael Fornataro
To meet someone as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside is a rare occurrence. So, we feel lucky to know Stephanie Schuler, creator of Rūtz Skincare (pronounced “roots”). When she welcomed us into her home on the day of the WHIRL photo shoot with an ear-to-ear smile, we couldn’t help but notice that her tranquil, earthy, and inviting space — including her garden and outdoor patio, adorned with bright blooms — reflects her in every way. Schuler radiates positivity from within, sharing her wholesome beauty philosophy, rooted in “goodness,” through the likes of her creams, scrubs, and sprays. All Rūtz products are made in the U.S. using natural and organic ingredients, intended to have an uplifting effect, with a portion of proceeds benefiting local charities. The proof of her potions, which are beautifully packaged in Pittsburgh, resides in the brand’s growing popularity and, of course, in Schuler’s own glowing skin. Quickly approaching its one-year anniversary in September, she envisions Rūtz’s “roots” sprawling across the country. “The sky’s the limit for us,” she says. “I think we’re like that little engine that could. I see us national for sure.”
How would you describe your personal style?
Stephanie Schuler: “It’s eclectic. I feel that I have such diverse tastes. One minute I’m wearing what you’re seeing me in now [jeans, a blouse, and sandals], and that’s my look most of the time. But, I love getting dressed up and wearing heels. So, it’s really just simple, classic, and I’ll throw in a couple pieces to mix it up.”
What inspires your fashion sense?
SS: “My own personal mood. Wherever I’m at at that point in life, you can usually see in the way I’m dressed or in my hair. If I’m ready for a change, you’ll see something drastic happen, like these bangs [laughs].”
Do you have any favorite designers or places to shop?
SS: “I’m all over the place. Sometimes I’m at Nordstrom, and I go to the Galleria [of Mt. Lebanon]. I like Footloose [at the Galleria] because they have a ton of everything. That’s one of my favorite stores in the area. And, I love Robert Rodriguez. He’s probably my favorite designer. I love his dresses — they’re timeless, but there’s still a little flair to them.
Who is your style or beauty icon?
SS: “I’ve always thought Coco Chanel was just such a trailblazer. She’s very classic, but her personality I think is what really drew me to her — just her knowing herself and never taking s—.”
For a woman who works for the popular cosmetics company Stila, in addition to owning Rūtz, Schuler’s beauty routine is refreshingly low-maintenance. “I have three kids [Jack, 14; Carson, 13; and Allie, 11], so they keep me trying to be as efficient with my time as possible,” she says. Sticking with simplicity, her everyday basics include ponytail holders that often end up as bracelets on her arm, tinted moisturizer, a little blush, and chapstick.