American Psycho turns 25 this week — which means that in a fictional alternate universe, Bret Easton Ellis’s Patrick Bateman is 52 years old, smurfing and undoubtedly still storing people in his closet.
Even though it’s the book’s anniversary we’re observing, we’re going to focus primarily on Mary Harron’s 2000 film adaptation, which stripped away some of the book’s humble-bragging vibe and amped up the satire. If you don’t believe us, just check out this Charlie Rose segment with Ellis, Harron and star Christian Bale, in which Ellis pins the blame for the book’s mixed reception on a “misreading.”
To truly understand Patrick Bateman, we must first wrestle with — which is to say, fact-check — the assertions presented in his morning grooming ritual. He has, as you would expect, a lot to say.
Patrick's Daily Routine2:07
Assertion: An icepack is the superior way to address a puffy eye situation
Ice packs can damage the delicate skin around the eyes, which comes with its own set of rules. Don’t touch it, don’t rub it and don’t expose it to unnecessarily cold things: there’s a reason “freezer burn” doesn’t sound nice, even if we’re not going all the way to those temperatures. A better option? “I like cucumbers,” says Vaughn Acord, celebrity groomer and creator of the V76 grooming line.
Assertion: 1,000 crunches is the superior daily core workout
Doing 1,000 of anything is not an ideal workout situation. Any muscle will both accommodate the move (meaning that it works less each time) and be worn out by it (meaning risk of injury becomes higher). We swear by the best video of Tony Horton’s X2 video series, which is focused on core strength and influenced by Pilates and yoga. Acord recommends spinning.
Assertion: Use both a "water-activated gel cleanser" AND a body scrub every day
Noting that most cleansers are, indeed, water activated, we’re down with his general plan here. “What I recommend is a daily regimen of cleansing, exfoliating, and then moisturizing,” says Sally Gluckstern, CEO of natural products line Refresh Byron Bay. Exfoliators can either be mechanical (a loofah, ground nut shell, etc.) or chemical (enzymes and acids). Either works, though we prefer a physical exfoliator like Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap, which uses oat bran. For a moisturizer, try Gluckstern’s body lotion with lemon myrtle oil, vitamin E and almond E — it absorbs fast, with a light, natural fragrance.
Assertion: No man is too manly for the occasional “herb-mint facial mask”
Verdict: GO FOR IT
Noting that masks are not the same as peels (which are often stronger), a mask can be a solid twice-weekly play — they can clean out pores, moisturize sad winter skin and brighten things up in a way a cleanser can’t. A multitasking success: Malin + Goetz’s Detox Face Mask. Five minutes and you’re done.
Use an aftershave lotion/product with no alcohol — it dries out your skin
“For me, it’s more about after-shave healing by feeding the face with aloe and moisturizers, or even using a hydration spray afterward,” says Acord. “I recommend our V76 Beard Oil and Tonic Hair and Scalp.” He also notes that “it’s important to always prep the face with steam.”