Beauty-care maven Helen of Troy (NASDAQ:HELE) suffered a case of the uglies today, dropping 6% after investors took a look and shuddered at the vision of the future. The firm makes hair care and other personal products licensed to, by, and with a variety of well-known names, including companies such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP), and Revlon (NYSE:REV).

When we last checked in, there was some disagreement over whether Helen was taking a step forward or a step back. The firm's second-quarter numbers offer a similarly confusing picture, with an acquisition jump-starting results.

The more organic revenue rise was 12.4%, with the combined revenue growth rate -- including the results of recent acquisition OXO -- coming to 34% more than the prior-year quarter. The final tally reached $141 million.

Don't be snowed by the claim of a 44% increase in earnings. Sure, that's the growth at the bottom line, but as a shareholder, your cut was sweetened by a much slimmer 36%. Still looks great, but remember that's comparing apples and oranges.

The Street's problems with the stock are related to Q3 earnings guidance, which came in a penny shy of analysts' expectations. My problem with the stock is a bit more fundamental: slow organic growth and crummy free cash flow (FCF). Doing a bit of back-of-the-napkin math to strip out the OXO acquisition, it looks like the company's earnings growth would have come in closer to 10%. When buying the stocks of slowish consumer-products firms, it would be nice to see some robust FCF. But with Helen, cash from operating activities tends to get chewed up by capital spending. Last year, $51 million went toward purchasing trademarks alone.

As a result, the firm put up only $11 million in FCF, a tiny drop compared with the $1 billion enterprise value. Sure, it looks cheap on a price-to-earnings basis, but what's the bottom line for investors? No pop. No sizzle. No huge discount. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of this aging beauty.

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Seth Jayson regrets that he no longer needs a hairbrush. At the time of publication, he had positions in no company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.