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Skies the Limit: Clear Skies' outdoorsy scents hint of summer while escaping cliché standards like pine.

Bare Escentuals sniffs at suburbia

By Dara Colwell

Developed along the lines of "Calgon, take me away!" Clear Skies, the new signature fragrance by Bare Escentuals, was created with the "I need a vacation NOW" sensibilities of an overworked mother. (Evidently, president Leslie Blodgett stood in her office one day staring at the blue sky and thought to herself, "I've got to get out more often." The result: many more days in the office and a new product line.)

The fragrance, a fruity floral concoction reminiscent of wet grass, barbecues and cool garden patios, has the outdoorsy smell of summer and seems to mark a recent trend. In the '70s, fragrances were musky and damp, advertising sexual availability; in the '80s, fragrances shifted toward the heavy and sweet, like Beverly Hills matrons caked in mascara; in the early '90s, perfumes smelled as plastic as Hello Kitty erasers, and now, as we enter the millennium, everything smells like a freshly mowed lawn.

The Clear Skies line of products, ranging from foaming bath grains and body lotions to moisturizers and scented candles, just smells damn clean. With a warm sandalwood base, it has got that squeaky-clean soapy smell that reminds me of first dates and fresh laundry. I fell in love with the Bare Escentuals bath balls and got straight into my research, plonking a grapefruit-sized ball into the tub. The balls effervesce and the experience is like taking a bath with an oversized Alka Seltzer that dissolves and attacks bath scum--all in under a minute. Stockpile a dozen or so and you may never get out of the bath.

For those who love to indulge in other smells, Bare Escentuals also offers a Library of Scents--50 different fragrance selections which can be blended on the spot for a unique perfume. With flavors such as Cucumber, Los Gatos Springtime, Oh Pear and Ambiance, you can create a scent to make you salivate.

According to one of my favorite books, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, the secret to life is threefold: take lots of baths, have lots of sex and always, always wear the right perfume. At Bare Escentuals, two out of three isn't bad, and smelling great will never hurt your chances at the other.

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From the June 7, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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