I'm not completely sure what this says about me, but American Psycho is probably one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time, behind the eclectic mix that is The Craft, Jawbreaker, Josie and the Pussycats, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Seriously, does it get any better than Christian Bale as an '80s-era psychopathic banker who just loses it over Jared Leto's business cards? Even in his role as Batman, I'd always associate Bale with Patrick Bateman, psychologically analyzing how the jump from murdery investment banker to superhero happened in the plotline running through my head. The movie is just so freakin' quotable, and I like to imagine that Reese Witherspoon's character dodged a serious bullet (figuratively but also probably an actual bullet) after she and Bateman called it quits, ultimately joining Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley in Monterey's elite group of Big Little Liars.
If you've seen the movie, you'll know that the plotline consists of business meetings, well-fitted suits, an axe to Jared Leto's face, and monologues upon monologues. It's how his insane internal thought process from the Bret Easton Ellis original text comes to life on-screen, and Bateman has some serious thoughts about skincare. You say textbook narcisissm, I say cool new beauty routine to try for a week. Semantics, am I right ladies?
That scene where Bale slowly peels his face mask off will forever be etched into my memory.
I always wondered how long it would take to go through these motions every day before work, and the impact it would have on my skin. After all, Bateman had a pretty great complexion, but I suppose a lot of that could be chalked up to movie magic. Realistically, I knew it would probably take me close to an hour, so for a week, I set my alarm earlier, and with the appropriate products, I practiced Patrick Bateman's morning routine—except of course for the whole murder part. Is it one I'd continue following? Probably not in full, since I can't imagine having the time to do a mask every day, though I am finally using eye cream, so there was some change for the better in all of this.
Return your videotapes, crank up your Phil Collins or Huey Lewis and the News cassettes, and keep reading to see how I recreated Patrick Bateman's intense skincare routine.
VIDEO: The Best Moisturizers for Year-Round Dry Skin
1. Gel Ice Pack
"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 barely do 30 crunches in one sitting, but I gave it the old college try a few times. After probably the second day, I decided to forgo the crunches and do my hair while I let the gel mask do its thing. It did have a slight depuffing effect, which was nice if I happened to be crying the night before, but nothing insanely dramatic.
I have a generic blue eye mask I picked up years ago, but since Patrick Bateman would probably hate this glitter-infused version, I'm including it.
Available at Ulta | $8
2. Deep Pore Cleanser
"After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleansing lotion."
Following this step, Bateman hits the shower, and I'm not sure that I know anyone who would apply a lotion prior to showering. What a waste, right? It would just get washed off. Then again, the '80s were all about excess, and knowing his behavior, I wouldn't totally put it past him.
Still, I decided to swap the lotion for Sunday Riley's Ceramic Slip Cleanser, which is infused with clay for that deep pore clearing action.
Sunday Riley | $45
3. Honey Almond Scrub
"In the shower, I use a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub..."
Suffice it to say that my shower routine also got somewhat longer since my usual lineup would consist of some body wash, face cleanser, and the act of me dragging a Venus Razor over my legs. Shampoo and conditioner on days I felt like washing my hair, which is usually an every three-day deal.
I kept my usual body wash among the products—Sol de Janiero's formula ($25; sephora.com) also happened to be a water-activated gel—then followed with The Body Shop's Almond Milk and Honey Scrub. I went for the cream-based version, because I got slightly paranoid body wash after body wash would dry out my skin.
The Body Shop | $24
4. Exfoliating Gel
"...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 most people.
Once I scrubbed down the rest of my body, I'd follow with this Erno Laszlo cleanser, which is infused with beta hydroxy and salicylic acids to gently exfoliate.
Erno Laszlo | $45
5. Peel-Off Mask
"Then, I apply a herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine."
But wait, there's more! Like a product being sold on TV at 2 in the morning, Patrick Bateman's skincare routine includes at least four more components.
Finding a peel-off mask was very important to me, and Glamglow's Gravitymud included the required skin-firming herbs as part of its ingredient list. It veers from the plot in that it turns silver, but is super-satisfying as it comes off in one complete sheet.
Glamglow | $69
6. Alcohol-Free Toner
"I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older."
I don't use aftershave, but I fear looking older a lot of the time, so a toner or essence devoid of alcohol is a necessary step post-mask for closing your pores. I'm a big fan of SK-II's famed essence—the hero ingredient here is pitera, which is derived from sake and boasts all the hydrating and anti-aging qualities that would make Bateman's heart sing.
SK-II | $99
Bateman is all about those designer labels, so I figured he'd approve of Kenzo's skincare range, particularly the white lotus-rich facial moisturizer. Though it seems pretty thick when you pick up a dollop, the cream absorbs quickly, and luckily didn't pill or feel oily once I applied makeup at the end of the routine. But we'll get there, eventually...
Kenzo | $107
8. Eye Cream
"Then an anti-aging eye balm..."
Eye cream is important! Although I had only started using the Biossance formula the week my project kicked off, it's one I'm going to continue using. I saw a pretty dramatic difference in my dark circles within a few days, complete thanks to the all-natural ingredients used in the mix.
Biossance | $54
9. SPF-Infused Moisturizer
"Followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion."
Let's assume that "protective" in this case means from that of UV rays. Patrick Bateman doesn't seem like the type to go all out with anti-aging skincare, only to skip suncare.
When La Prairie launched back in 1987, it was widely-considered one of the most decadent brands out there as elements like caviar became staples in their formulas. The sunscreen doesn't actually include the ingredient, but contains a generous amount of Swiss edelweiss (you know, the Sound of Music flower), which actually helps to repair existing sun damage.
La Prairie | $185