A Psycho Grooming Regime...Discovering and testing the Patrick Bateman routine from American Psycho.
Patrick Bateman’s grooming routine in “American Psycho” was a perfect reflection of the excessive 80’s. A grooming scene was nothing new in cinema, we had seen Robert Redford get preened and manicured in "The Sting" and watched Al Capone’s straight edge shave in “The Untouchables”. American Psycho introduced us to a level of obsessive self indulgent care the likes of which had never been seen before.
Fast-forward eighteen years after this films release, and Mr Bateman's grooming ritual seems normal. This week we have seen articles that highlight that Korean men's skincare routines have at least nine steps. For the era of the 1980s Bateman's morning grooming regime, was way ahead of his time.
"In the morning if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1,000 now."
First of all, I can do nowhere near 1000 crunches in one sitting, but I gave it a try a few times. Medical advice however is not to attempt such a large number of repetitions of one exercise...anyway I digress. These masks were a new thing in the 80s, becoming a mainstream product being sold through The Body Shop, yet they remained a novelty until further into the next decade.
Wearing one of these while doing Ab exercises is not as fun or easy as you'd think. There's an odd "flu like" feeling comes over you as your body warms up with the exercise but your head and face are being chilled. Still, It did have a slight de-puffing effect, which was nice if I happened to have slept badly the night before, but nothing insanely dramatic.
DEEP PORE CLEANSER
"After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleansing lotion."
Following the gruelling 5:30am Ab torture, Bateman hits the shower, and I'm not sure that I know anyone who would apply a lotion prior to showering. As surely it would just get washed off. I know the '80s were all about excess, and knowing Patrick's behaviour, I wouldn't totally put it past him.
However, I switched the Lotion out for a Kiehl's Deep Pore Cleanser, which proved a far more beneficial practise.
HONEY ALMOND SCRUB
"In the shower, I use a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub..."
You'd be right in thinking that my shower routine became somewhat longer while doing this review. Patrick uses a Honey and Almond body scrub to exfoliate prior to washing. There aren't many of these on the market, which I was slightly shocked at. Most were from disreputable, kinky shops. Still I tracked down a L'Occitane Amande body scrub, which is a very gentle and nourishing scrub, not the ususual gritty gels you find in some stores.
Over the course of this review, this became my 2nd favourite product and one I may continue to use. It was very useful at preventing spot outbreaks on my chest and back following a gym workout.
"...and on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub."
For most people, washing their face a total of once in the morning would be enough, but Patrick Bateman isn't like most people. I was personally worried about the potential negative effects of slapping so many scrubs and washes on top of each other. Would they cancel each other out or simply turn my skin into suede.
I chose the most sensitive face scrub I could find, I also wanted something suitable pretentious, something Patrick would be happy using. The clinique for men, face scrub worked well. I do however feel that this is an unnecessary step and not one you would gain any major advantage by using. If anything I found it dried my skin too much in the T zone when used with everything else. So maybe skip this stage.
".....Once I've scrubbed down, then I wash rest of my body"
One of the few clear product shots we see in the film is of the front of Patrick's shower gel. A 1908s era L'Occitan shower gel.
Now the particular one in the film has been superseded by a great alternative from the same maker. This is a great, masculine and subtle fragrance. Foams well and lasts a long time for such a modest sized bottle. Of all the products I acquired for this test, this is the one I will continue to buy and use daily.
PEEL-OFF FACE MASK
"Then, I apply a herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine."
I can hear what you're thinking....."There's more?! Like being sold a holiday car rental, Patrick Bateman's skincare routine requires at least four more things you need to go over.
Finding a peel-off mask was very important to me, it is a cult segment of the film and if I was to understand why he does all this prolonged routine, then I wanted to get close to screen accurate as possible. Plus it looked good fun!
Locating a decent clear peel off mask proved quite tricky, at present the trend is for Charcoal or Metallic (for some reason) masks, which are black or make you look like C-3PO. Still I found Boots own Tea Tree Witch Hazel Peel Off Face Mask. Now this isn't a particularly flashy product but it does what it says on the tin and gives you that Bateman moment as you peel the mask off in one clean go.
Bateman loves the status his designer labels give him. In the film there are several Yves Saint Laurant bottles, sadly we can't distinguish what these are as we never see him use them, so they may just be "for show". So I figured he'd approve of Tom Ford's skincare range as a substitute, particularly the Oud Wood moisturiser. Though it seems pretty thick when you pick up a dollop, the cream absorbs quickly, and luckily didn't feel oily once I applied it at the end of the routine.
"Then an anti-aging eye balm..."
Eye cream is important but was a slightly effeminate product for men to use back in the 80s, so Patrick was certainly ahead of the times. I chose a popular brand for my test, one I could switch out if I felt I was getting too dry with all these products. The Kiehl's Eye Treatment worked well, I saw a pretty dramatic difference in my dark circles within a few days, complete thanks to the ingredients used in the mix.
"Followed by a final moisturising protective lotion."
If we take an educated guess and assume that "protective" in this instance means from ageing. After all, Patrick Bateman does seem like the type to go all out with anti-aging skincare.
I settled on No.7 for Men Intense Moisturiser. This is a well respected brand and one I felt I could use daily without any issues like being overly greasy or shiny. It is a soft and rapidly absorbed formula and one I would have no issue in usuing daily, I do however feel it is an unnecessary step to repeat daily.
WE ARE DONE!!
So what was it like doing this routine for a month? On the one hand, my skin was the most consistent it has ever been, with only an occasional "bad luck" pimple popping up. I felt clean and that it developed a certain level of discipline that I had been lacking with my personal care. The downsides however are the cost, an initial outlay of £125 for everything, so you're roughly looking at around £4.19 a day to do this routine. Then there is the time, obviously Patrick can arrive late at the office most days, it took me on average an hour to get all this done to a degree that I felt it could make a difference. Some parts couldn't be rushed, like the peel off mask, so you really do have to make a time commitment to this.
This routine is purposefully decadent, over the top and excessive. It could easily be cut down to a body scrub, body wash, and moisturiser....but then there wouldn't be anything psychotic about it would there?