Patrick Bateman is monstrous. He’s the white collar, white privilege, Ivy League, misogynist, serial killer from Bret Easton Ellis’ book, American Psycho. It was written a few years after the 1987 Wall Street crash and the greed-is-good decade that birthed the ‘yuppie’: affluent young professionals who splash their cash on status-chasing cars, clothes and watches. You know the type: always having to be seen in the right places, with the right people.
The 27 year old has a healthy bank balance and leaves a hefty body count. His homicidal hatred of his rival, Paul Allen, is driven by trivialities, such as Allen’s thicker ‘off-white’ business card. Patrick Bateman is vile, he’s disturbed, he commits unspeakable crimes.
Patrick Bateman deserves to be cancelled, even the author killed him off in a later novel. So, why are we still interested? Part of the fascination with Bateman comes from Christian Bale’s note perfect performance of the wealthy murderer in the star studded film adaptation. With more than a tinge of black humour, and omitting the most depraved scene from the book, Bale’s Bateman is a marginal notch above the irredeemable print character.
Bateman is an empty vessel and lacks taste, so he borrows his identity from aspirational magazines; the honed Men’s Health physique, the luxury Italian suits from the pages of GQ and Esquire, the Manhattan apartment peppered with the Architectural Digest approved items, the Mies van der Rohe chairs, the Paolo Piva coffee table and the MoMA art work. His Instagram feed, if he had one, would be full of the shiny things – whisper it – that we secretly want too.
While Bateman represents the dark side of our consumer culture, in Bale we got to see the modern man’s grooming routine represented on the big screen; from his spa mani-pedi, to his peel off face mask and his ‘salon’ tan (Paul Allen had a home tanning bed, naturally). What’s mainstream now was lot more exotic back then. And for that, Patrick Bateman gave men everywhere the permission for unapologetic self-betterment, if we just gloss over the awkward, narcissistic sociopath part.
“I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine.” Patrick Bateman
If he were a real person, and in many ways, Patrick Bateman does exist, he’d be the first to brag about his lunch-hour face lift, his dental implants, his vitamin drips, his hardcore detox retreat and his Coolsculpted abs.
Patrick Bateman’s 10-Step Grooming Routine Updated
Forget the Koreans, Bateman was already boasting a 10-step skin care routine back in the early 1990s:
“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. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub.
“Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturiser, then an anti-ageing eye balm followed by a final moisturising protective lotion.”
He neatly regurgitates the wisdom of a lifetime of grooming articles, so, we know the joke is partly on us. Yet it still begs the question, and yes, we will ask the question: just what would Patrick Bateman use on his face and body today?
“In the morning if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack”
In the film, Patrick Bateman takes a wraparound eye pack straight from the steel refrigerator in his industrial kitchen – the height of Y2K cool. Today, he’d be all over the YA-MAN Medi Lift Eye – a rejuvenating eye mask from Japan that uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to shock the slack eye area into firmer touch.
Keeping certain products in the fridge is still a worthwhile hack, so leave at least one SOS under-eye treatment to chill, and feel the benefit on those sluggish, hungover mornings.
“After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion”
Bateman’s commitment to maintaining a clear complexion would be best served by Paula’s Choice Pore-Reducing Toner. He would appreciate the gentle exfoliating niacinamide in this alcohol-free solution, which minimises enlarged pores and balances oily areas, while adding lightweight hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid.
“In the shower I use a water-activated gel cleanser”
In this scene, he reaches for a discontinued Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme shower gel. These days, he’d use Saunders & Long Moisturising Body Wash, because it has a scent composed by a French perfumer and a glycerin-based formula that helps keep the skin soft.
“Then a honey almond body scrub”
In the shower stall, he grabs a L’Occitane bottle, but today he’d prefer Aesop’s Redemption Body Scrub. A salve for his troubled conscience? Hardly. He’s beyond redemption, but not beyond a good buff with Aesop’s finest exfoliator. Thick, paste-style scrubs often work better when applied to dry skin first, so put this on just before getting into the shower and then massage to rinse off.
“On the face an exfoliating gel scrub”
He’s so vain, he probably thinks this product is about him. Patricks FS1 Volcanic Sand and Crushed Diamond Face Scrub contains powdered diamonds, which has obvious appeal for those who like the finer things in life. It works to expertly refine the skin texture and reduce ingrown hairs, while multivitamins, AHA and anti-ageing peptides rejuvenate the skin cells and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
“Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask”
Sheet masks have always had a whiff of Michael Myers from the Halloween slasher franchise about them. As a chainsaw wielding maniac who’s all over the latest skin care trends, Bateman would surely appreciate these slightly creepy but convenient face treats that perk up a flagging visage.
The Black Diamond Lifting and Firming Treatment Mask from 111Skin is as dark as his soul. ‘Herb-mint’ sounds positively basic, whereas this mask contains advanced active ingredients. Divided into three sections, the upper mask is formulated with glycopeptides to target frown lines, the lower mask is full of collagen to plump up the cheeks, lips and chin and the neck mask uses a biomimetic peptide to help firm and sculpt the jowl area.
“I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol”
He’s absolutely right about alcohol drying out the skin, so he would get along well with Acqua Di Parma’s Refreshing After Shave Emulsion: a lightweight, fresh feeling, glycerin-based hydrator to help repair the skin after shaving.
Here we get a glimpse of Bateman’s well-stocked bathroom cabinet, which includes plenty of recognisable high-end grooming brands. So he’s sure to love Tom Ford’s collection. The designer’s Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer will complement Bateman’s pore-perfecting goals while keeping his skin matte during those ‘stressful’ moments.
“Then anti-ageing eye balm”
Patrick Bateman is a details man. You have to be when you’re planning to kill someone and get away with it. And for that, we just know he’d get along with one of those fiddly applicators that come with some luxury eye creams. The anti-ageing Eye Balm Intense from La Mer comes with a cooling silver-tipped stick (that should be stored in fridge) to increase micro-circulation, smooth out fine lines, puffiness and signs of fatigue.
“Followed by a final moisturising protective lotion”
In the smoggy Manhattan air, his skin would benefit from a smart formula that offers an SPF or environmental filters. The Clima-Adaptive Anti-Pollution Moisturiser for Men from Beyl contains Vitamin C and micro-algae to screen out the blue light that’s emitted from all the screens he’d now be using.
We can’t help thinking his daily personal care routine wouldn’t end there. Imagine the shampoos, the styling products, the tools, the supplements. He’d probably use a tinted BB cream or a light foundation to even out any redness, followed by a light touch bronzer. He’d tidy his brows with a gel comb or pencil, dab on a bit of under eye concealer, maybe add a slick of lip balm.
Patrick Bateman is so good at looking his best, worst self, that we may even shamelessly revisit his grooming routine in the future.