April 23, 2024


Great Health is a Choice

I Tried Patrick Bateman’s Morning Skincare Routine

Personified by Christian Bale in 2000’s American Psycho, the iconic character of Patrick Bateman is part-parody, part-late-stage capitalist icon. Even if you’ve never seen the movie he features in (or read Bret Easton Ellis’ book the film is based on), if you’re a VICE reader, you’re undoubtedly familiar with what Bateman stands for, and how references to the sociopathic playboy make their way into pop culture and (twisted) everyday conversation. A singular symbol for an American public infatuated with money, status, and personal appearance, Bateman’s character is primed for those with a morbid curiosity for the self-obsessed. To most of us, a simplified morning routine sounds like a dream. Awakening, having to barely do a thing. But, to Patrick Bateman, the poster child for a sigma male, that is lazy. He should be no one’s role model, I mean, the guy is a murderer. But, when it comes to the looks department, I give him a free pass. Bateman’s hyper-rigorous—frankly… psychotic—morning routine has become a favorite on TikTok, with the audience comprising equal parts of those who are clearly in on the satire (and, unfortunately, those who aren’t). If you’re unfamiliar with the insane film icon of American Psycho, prepare to be schooled on one of the most type-A, yet intriguing morning skincare routines ever portrayed on film. One of his most well-known lines in the film is “you could always be thinner, look better,” and his routine proves his determination to do just that. He may be the epitome of toxicity, but damn, does he look good. Bateman’s dedication to personal aesthetics—rivaled only by his affinity for business cards or bragging about reservations at Dorsia—is unhinged at best. Even still, I was curious about what it would be like to bring that level of hyper-fixation and self-obsession into my own morning routine. Would I find the same gratification in all that icing, moisturizing, scrubbing, and facial masking?

While I’m far from donning a clear plastic rain jacket and…uh, playing some Huey Lewis and the News, I did feel like this skincare routine taught me what it takes to reach this very specific pastiche of yuppie perfection status. If Bateman was right about anything, it’s that it’s hard work to look good, and I have the products and experience to prove it. I spent a week performing Bateman’s skincare routine on my own impeccable visage over and over, and frankly, I look fantastic. Here’s what you need to be #influenced by a true American psycho.

Plastic eye ice pack

I’m already a huge ice roller fan to get rid of facial puffiness, so even outside of Patrick Bateman’s influence, I’ve been wanting to give one of these eye ice packs a go. This one uses gel beads to retain a frosty temperature that works best when applied for 20 minutes. I really did notice my eyes look more alive and well (especially after running on just five hours of sleep). To get in full-blown American Psycho mode, do 1,000 crunches while it’s strapped to your face. You can’t waste any precious time when it comes to getting washboard abs.

$14.99$11.99 at Amazon

Deep pore cleanser lotion

Behind every glowing complexion is a deep pore facial cleanser. I mean, Christian Bale may be playing a serial killer, but he does have great skin. I added Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser to my regimen. I’m already a simp for the brand’s accompanying mask, so the cleanser obviously didn’t disappoint. It combines oat kernel meal (a natural exfoliant and oil absorber), Amazonian white clay, and aloe to combat shine and minimize the look of pores. Pores are for losers.

Peeling facial mask 

The best—or, at least, the most satisfying—part of the iconic skincare scene is when Bateman starts peeling the “herb-mint facial mask” to unleash his beauty. Watching him peel it away was somewhat haunting, but also mesmerizing. I opted for this cucumber variation by Freeman to achieve the ultimate peel since I already knew what it was capable of. This gel mask is cooling, hydrating, moisturizing, and gentle enough for everyday use to rid your pores of impurities; the only thing that makes it un-Bateman-worthy is how affordable it is. 

$4.29$3.81 at Amazon

Water-activated gel cleanser 

L’Occitane’s shower gel is a brand best-seller for a reason. Patrick Bateman lathers it all over his thousand-crunches-toned body. It has a subtle lavender scent with notes of pepper, nutmeg, and burnt wood. I can confirm that I, in fact, reeked of old money after using this. As an added bonus, my skin now feels as soft as a Valentino couture suit baby.

Almond milk body scrub 

Sloughing off dead skin cells unleashes super-smooth skin, which is an even bigger flex than a strong business card font. I love drinking almond milk, and now, I love slathering it all over my body in the form of a scrub, too. This scrub by The Body Shop is made with almond milk from Spain (fancy!) and sesame oil from Nicaragua to gently buff your body canvas for epic softness. I’m now incredibly smooth (but, of course, still not as smooth as Mr. Bateman). 

$24 at The Body Shop

Exfoliating gel scrub

Now for the face. Giving your face yet another good ol’ scrubbing is extremely important for a bright complexion. This gentle gel from Avene is formulated with niacinamide, zinc, jojoba wax beads, and thermal spring water to refine skin texture to be a glowing god, American Psycho-style. 

“Emollient lotion” (moisturizer) 

No skincare routine is complete without a great facial moisturizer. My favorite is The Mineral Sunscreen by Necessaire with SPF 30. My favorite skincare ingredient, niacinamide,  is also featured in it, which combats acne and improves skin texture. I’ve actually been using this particular sunscreen for six months and it is one of my holy grails. Patrick Bateman doesn’t have a wrinkle in sight, so clearly, he understands that SPF is essential!

$45 at Amazon

Anti-aging eye balm (eye cream) 

There is no room in our incredibly impressive lives for drab, dark under-eye circles. Origins’ Ginzing Vitamin C Eye Cream makes me look alive and well while running on zero sleep (less from murdering, more from existential dread). That’s how I know it’s good. It visibly depuffs the eye area, which makes it perfect to apply right after the eye gel mask. 

Now excuse me, I have to return some video tapes. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.