Our ‘American Psycho’ 30-Product Personal Grooming Regimen Is Killer
Does anyone have a more exhaustive, comprehensive grooming regimen than Patrick Bateman? I mean, sure, he’s merely a fictional character (from the pages of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho) and, sure, he murders countless people — some with chainsaws — in the 1991 novel and 2000 film, but damn, he always looked fresh-faced. You, too, can have that painstakingly thorough routine by following this American Psycho grooming regimen.
All it takes is a cabinet full of potions and lotions (this ain’t no three-step process) and waking up each morning a good two hours before you need to be anywhere. (Yeah, this daily routine takes a while.)
Seeing as how we’re living in American Psycho times, we’ve decided to take a look back at one of our all-time favorite novels, itself a satirical statement on America’s greed, obsession with narcissistic self-involvement and indifference to others.
It’s in American Psycho’s second chapter when Patrick Bateman takes us through his daily morning regimen. Below, we recall his ridiculously extensive process (“What would Patrick Bateman do?”) and provide some of our own updates to the mid-’80s murderer’s grooming go-tos.
Behold our 9-step, 30-product American Psycho grooming regimen:
1. Slap on a cold facial ice pack.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises. Afterwards I stand in front of a chrome and acrylic Washmobile bathroom sink — with soap dish, cup holder, and railings that serve as towel bars, which I bought as Hastings Tile to use while the marble sinks I ordered from Finland are being sanded — and stare at my reflection with the ice pack still on.”
Our suggestion: Sure, it looks like something out of Silence of the Lambs, but the purpose of a cold ice pack is to reduce puffiness in your face, reduce your pores, constrict and tighten the skin. With the above Facial Ice Pack (from a company called Accurate Manufacturing, only $13 on Amazon), you place the mask in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight) and slap it on early in the morning. If nothing else, it’s damn sure to wake you up.
2. Make your mouth minty fresh.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “I pour some Plax antiplaque formula into a stainless-steel tumbler and swish it around my mouth for thirty seconds. I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush and start brushing my teeth (too hung over to floss properly — but maybe I flossed before bed last night?) and rinse with Listerine.
Our suggestions: Bateman takes his dental hygiene very seriously, and his three-step process is no joke. Using an antiplaque mouthwash is meant to loosen the plaque on your teeth before brushing, and companies like Plax (only $5 or so at Target) claim they’re clinically proven to remove more plaque than just brushing alone. As for that stainless-steel tumbler, we’re bigger fans of CB2’s Cora Carafe ($13 at cb2.com), a two-piece handblown glass carafe with a fitted tumbler that doubles as a lid. You can find mouthwash in every color these days — orange, green, blue, purple — and seeing as how they’ll pretty much all do the trick, opt for a color that complements your bathroom’s décor, because why not?
Everyone has a favorite toothpaste brand, and for Bateman it’s clearly important to keep his pearly whites as ivory as possible. Rembrandt, his preferred label, unveiled a “Deeply White + Peroxide” product that whitens your teeth, restores enamel and contains fluoride (and at only $6 per tube, that’s a bargain). When it comes to your toothbrush, why not let your style shine through by investing in one that doesn’t just do the trick but looks cool, too? Companies like Marvis and Buly 1803 offer sleek, stylish toothbrushes of completely different price ranges that you’ll be proud to keep out in the open near your sink. We love Buly 1803’s Oub Toothbrush (above, running a rather high $50 online), a vintage brush handmade in Italy with silk bristles.
For those who use electric toothbrushes — a good idea, according to dentists — purchase a few cheap toothbrushes for when you have overnight guests who left theirs at home. Marvis’ black nylon bristle toothbrushes are a perfect option, running only $6 at Sephora.
Bateman might be perpetually too hungover to floss in the morning, but don’t be crazy! We’re a big fan of mint-flavored floss picks (they won’t cut off the circulation in your fingers like line floss does), of which you can find a whole bag for $3-$4. Feel confident that your mouth is good to go by following up your flossing with a swig of mouthwash. The blue stuff you likely use is fine, sure, but when only the best (and most obscure) will do, that’s when you opt for Botot, considered the world’s very first mouthwash when it was created in 1755 for France’s King Louis XV. You can score some for around $20, but just remember to dilute it with water.
3. Take care of your nails.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “Then I inspect my hands and use a nail brush.”
Our suggestion: For those who haven’t yet made friends with a nail brush, it’s a nifty instrument used to clean underneath your fingernails. (God knows Patrick Bateman has to be vigilant about ridding his nails of blood and brain matter buildup, right?) Invest in an inexpensive nail brush, like the German-made Fendrihan brush pictured above, made with boar bristles and running you a cool $12.
4. Attack the face with lotions and potions.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “I take the ice-pack mask off and use a deep-pore cleanser lotion, then an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for ten minutes while I check my toenails.”
Our suggestions: When it comes to deep-cleaning your face, you can’t go wrong with Clinique’s Charcoal Face Wash ($20 at Sephora), which uses its main ingredient — that’d be the charcoal — to suck out any dirt and oil that might be sitting in your pores. It’s a foaming wash that doesn’t rely on harsh chemicals to get the job done, and it’s fragrance-free. If you’re a guy for whom blackheads are a persistent problem, opt for Clinique’s Sonic brush (pictured above, $60) as well.
When it comes to a really great facial mask for men, we have two favorites.
The first is this Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque by Aesop (find it for less than $50 at aesop.com). It’s meant for guys who struggle with acne, and the chamomile extract in the mask will calm your skin and clear up your complexion. Don’t have time each morning to apply a full face mask? (That’s a little more often than you need, to be honest.) You can use this mask for spot treatment on the random pimple that pops up unannounced.
The other mask we’re loving (it’s another pricy investment, running just under $60) is Peter Thomas Roth’s Irish Moor Mud Mask. That big chunk of change you’re shelling out goes to harvesting 9,000-year-old black odorless mud from Ireland, which is combined with charcoal, volcanic ash and seaweed. Unlike the Aesop, which tackles acne, this PTR mask pumps minerals and vitamins into your skin, shrinking pores and hydrating your face.
5. Now back to the teeth.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “Then I use the Probright tooth polisher and next the Interplak tooth polisher (this in addition to the toothbrush) which has a speed of 4200 rpm and reverses direction forty-six times per second; the larger tufts clean between teeth and massage the gums while the short ones scrub the tooth surfaces. I rinse again, with Cepacol.”
Our suggestions: We aren’t going to suggest that you go out and purchase a “tooth polisher” (let alone two) to use in addition to your toothbrush (that’s just nuts), but anyone who’s been in for a teeth cleaning since electric toothbrushes came on the scene knows it’s what your dentist would prefer you use. And these days a guy can purchase a quality electric toothbrush without breaking the bank; just head to Amazon. You can purchase a beautiful piece of machinery from Oral B, Philips Sonicare and a few other big-name brands, but if you’re going for sleek and stylish, it’s gotta be the Foreo ISSA ($200 on Amazon). Made of silicone, it’s fully waterproof (for you weirdos who brush your teeth in the shower) and lasts up to six months (!) on a single charge, meaning it’s an electric toothbrush you’ll feel comfortable traveling with.
If purchasing an electric toothbrush just isn’t in the cards — or isn’t in your budget — opt for a disposable motorized toothbrush, which still does a better job than that pharmacy-aisle old-school brush.
6. Hop in the shower.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “I wash the facial massage off with a spearmint facial scrub. The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish.
In the shower I use first a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Vidal Sassoon shampoo is especially good at getting rid of the coating of dried perspiration, salts, oils, airborne pollutants and dirt that can weigh down hair and flatten it to the scalp which can make you look older. The conditioner is also good — silicone technology permits conditioning benefits without weighing down the hair which can also make you look older.
On weekends or before a date I prefer to use Greune Natural Revitalizing Shampoo, the conditioner and the Nutrient Complex. These are formulas that contain D-panthenol, a vitamin-B-complex factor; polysorbate 80, a cleansing agent for the scalp; and natural herbs.”
Our suggestions: What a shower routine — let’s tackle the hardware first, shall we? We’re all for making your shower time as enjoyable as possible, so do that by investing in a shower head that treats you right. We’re partial to shower heads that resemble rainfall, and you’re able to find them for as cheap as $60 if you know where to look. As for what to put on your body once inside the shower, it’s all a matter of personal preference, but we do have a few faves.
Unlike Patrick Bateman, who uses two different scrubs on his face in the shower, we suggest you act a little kinder to your gorgeous mug. One of our favorite facial cleansers for men is one that’ll hardly break the bank — Neutrogena Men’s Invigorating Face Wash. This foaming gel cleanser will run you $5 at Target, and its touch of menthol will cool down your face, which is great when you’re showering after the gym.
When choosing a body scrub, opt for something that’ll gently exfoliate. (Unless, that is, you enjoy dry, scaly skin.) There’s no need to use a loofah or a washcloth in the shower, which can actually irritate the skin and cause unflattering redness. Dove Men + Care makes several great body washes, as does Old Spice (for only $5 or so). And these days, bars of exfoliating soap for men are rather common, too, like this Exfoliating and Cleansing Bar by Anthony, which goes for $17 on Amazon.
When it comes to your luscious locks, men’s grooming experts disagree over whether both a shampoo and conditioner are the way to go, or whether a combo cleaner does the trick. The consensus: It depends on your hair length. If you’re a guy with short hair who visits a barber every three to four weeks, you can likely forego conditioner and no one will be the wiser; in fact, conditioning your hair can result in a greasy scalp, which nobody wants. Guys with longer hair should be using conditioner to prevent tangled, damaged ends.
There’s of course no shortage of shampoos on the market, which often makes choosing one an unenviable task. But whether you have short or mid-length hair, a sensitive scalp or not, you can’t go wrong with Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo ($30 for 17 oz.). It’s a mild shampoo, as simple as it gets, enriched with coconut oil to soften your hair. Guys with special needs — thinning hair, unruly hair, greying hair, dandruff problems — should have no problem finding a great shampoo that fits the bill. Those in the market for a conditioner can opt for the accompanying Kiehl’s Amino Acid Conditioner or can test the waters with Ahava’s Dead Sea Mineral Conditioner. It’s one of our favorite brands in the grooming market, and all of its products utilize active Dead Sea minerals. (It’ll set you back around $30.)
7. Put a blade to your face.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “Once out of the shower and toweled dry I put the Ralph Lauren boxers back on and before applying the Mousse A Raiser, a shaving cream by Pour Hommes, I press a hot towel against my face for two minutes to soften abrasive beard hair. Then I always slather on a moisturizer (to my taste, Clinique) and let it soak in for a minute. You can rinse it off or keep it on and apply a shaving cream over it — preferably with a brush, which softens the beard as it lifts the whiskers — which I’ve found makes removing the hair easier. It also helps prevent water from evaporating and reduces friction between your skin and the blade.
Always wet the razor with warm water before shaving and shave in the direction the beard grows, pressing gently on the skin. Leave the sideburns and chin for last, since these whiskers are tougher and need more time to soften. Rinse the razor and shake off any excess water before starting.
Afterwards always splash cool water on the face to remove any trace of lather. You should use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol. Never use cologne on your face, since the high alcohol content dries your face out and makes you look older. One should use an alcohol-free antibacterial toner with a water-moistened cotton ball to normalize the skin.”
Our suggestions: Bateman’s shaving game is on point, with a routine that is grooming expert-approved. A hot shower (or a hot towel) is a great way to soften your facial follicles before attacking them with a razor, and your face will thank you. Let’s skip over Bateman’s pre-shave moisturizer for the time being (finding a great moisturizer is covered below), which isn’t a must if you opt for a decent shaving cream anyway. We favor V76 Clean Shave (less than $20 on Amazon), a gel cream — meaning it goes on as a gel but lathers into a foam — that does wonders for guys with dry skin. It’s loaded with vitamin E to pump moisture into your clean-shaven face. If you’d rather opt for a shave oil as opposed to a shave cream, Imperial Barber makes a good, reasonably priced potion.
When it comes to the shaving hardware, it’s a good rule of thumb to put some thought into a sharp blade that comes into contact with your face on the daily. If you decide to splurge on ‘a bag of razors’ at the grocery store, you’re on your own — don’t say we didn’t warn you. Instead, opt for the razor that GQ called “The Hope Diamond of razors,” Harry’s The Winston ($20 online). In addition to its sexy appearance (no neon colors or goofy emblazoned brand name), its German-made steel blades come with a close shave and won’t tug at your chin hairs. Best of all, when you’re in need of Harry’s replacement blades, you can now just run into Target.
Post-shave, seal the deal with an aftershave balm, like Proraso, an alcohol-free solution that soothes and moisturizes your face with all natural ingredients. There’s a reason why professional barbers are fans of the stuff, and it’s relatively cheap — only $16 for a 3.4 oz. bottle.
8. Make friends with your moisturizer.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “Applying a moisturizer is the final step. Splash on water before applying an emollient lotion to soften the skin and seal in the moisture. Next apply Gel Appaisant, also made by Pour Hommes, which is an excellent, soothing skin lotion. If the face seems dry and flaky — which makes it look dull and older — use a clarifying lotion that removes flakes and uncovers fine skin (it can also make your tan look darker). Then apply an anti-aging eye balm (Baume des Yeux) followed by a final moisturizing “protective” lotion.
Our suggestions: Bateman doesn’t have the right idea when it comes to most things: Killing homeless people is always wrong, your business card isn’t that important, and Phil Collins is most definitely not the standout artist of the ’80s. But he’s on the money when it comes to the importance of moisturizing. One of the last steps in your extensive-beyond-belief daily grooming regimen, a moisturizer hydrates dry skin, staves off acne (believe it or not) and — most importantly — keeps wrinkles at bay. Of all the men’s moisturizers on the market, we prefer Lab Series BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 35 ($42 online). It’s not a full-on foundation, and no, it’s not makeup. It contains a pigment called Tagra and adjusts to all skin tones. It also contains SPF, and you shouldn’t even look at moisturizers that don’t — it’s a must.
A balm for under the eyes — where skin is super delicate and quick to show age — isn’t a bad idea, either, and for that we love Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair ($30 at Nordstrom), which is specially formulated for guys. Just remember to pat it on gently, using your ring finger.
9. Finally, manage your mane.
American Psycho grooming regimen: “A scalp-programming lotion is used after I towel my hair dry. I also lightly blow-dry the hair to give it body and control (but without stickiness) and then add more of the lotion, shaping it with a Kent natural-bristle brush, and finally slick it back with a wide-tooth comb.
I pull the Fair Isle sweater back on and reslip my feet into the polka-dot silk slippers, then head into the living room and put the new Talking Heads in the CD player.”
Our suggestions: Ditch the “scalp-programming lotion,” whatever that is (if you’ve got dandruff, invest in a great dry-scalp shampoo and be done with it), and opt instead for a dry shampoo. Tons of guys are hesitant to try out this ‘unconventional’ product, but we guarantee you’ll fall in love with it after giving in. Dry shampoos, whether in powder or spray form, add texture to your hair that you never knew could be achieved so simply. It also cleans while keeping the good oils in your hair. Depending on your wallet, opt for the drugstore brand Batiste ($8 or so) or Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, which will run you around $45.