Investors seemed happy about Bare Escentuals' (NASDAQ:BARE) most recent quarter, judging by the stock's near-12% surge today. I only wish I knew just what made them so cheerful.

Net income fell by 19.8%, to $19.8 million, or $0.21 per share. Sales dipped 4%, to $132.5 million. Admittedly, those figures still bested analysts' estimates of $0.20 per share and $130.9 million in revenue.

All the same, I'm not sure euphoria is the right emotion here, even if management does believe it gained market share amid an 8% decline in the overall prestige cosmetic segment. That whole "beating expectations" game is getting a bit old this earnings season. I didn't see grounds for exuberance over Starbucks' (NASDAQ:SBUX) quarter by any stretch.

I still retain some of my bearishness on Bare, especially since its products are no longer unique. Well-heeled rivals have devised their own mineral makeup lines, from Avon (NYSE:AVP), Mary Kay, and Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL) to drugstore cosmetic brands such as Revlon (NYSE:REV) and Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE:JNJ) Neutrogena.

Bare Escentuals' balance sheet still bugs me, too. It has $234.1 million in long-term debt -- a hefty load, even if it's made some progress whittling that burden down in the last year. Despite that debt, Bare does sport $97.5 million in cash, compared to just $31 million at this time last year.

Even with its thick, lustrous cash hoard, I'm leery of Bare's prospects in a dour economy. High-end makeup seems like an easy budget cut when shoppers feel pinched for pennies. Bare Escentuals' renowned customer loyalty might protect it from such an outcome, but it's still good reason for concern.

Maybe I'm just too stubborn to shake my longtime bearishness on this Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. My pessimism's definitely going against the crowd, in this case. Our Motley Fool CAPS community has a four-star rating on Bare Escentuals. Despite its severe beatdown over the last year -- or perhaps because of it -- investors remain highly optimistic about the stock.

Sure, Bare Escentuals has a single-digit price-to-earnings ratio, and it isn't as risky a stock as it was a year ago. But I'd argue there are prettier, less risky stocks for investors seeking consumer-facing brands.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.