What are you going as for Halloween? A pokémon? Someone from Game of Thrones? Donald Trump’s Mexico wall?
What about American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman? It is his 25th birthday after all (well, sort of). First unleashed in Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 seminal novel, Mr. Bateman is arguably the stylish man’s Halloween costume of choice: he’s suited in Ermenegildo Zegna, accessorises with Armani, emanates an obvious spookiness being, you know, a cold-blooded serial killer and, last but not least, he’s immaculately groomed.
In fact – and this could be one too many glasses of Halloween punch talking – we can’t think of a more devilishly handsome psychopath. Bateman’s skin glows, his teeth gleam and his hair is perfectly coiffured. Much of which, of course, is down to the fact that when he wasn’t flinging chainsaws at prostitutes or freaking out about business cards, he spent ages following a punishingly meticulous grooming regimen.
So, in an attempt to see if we can make ourselves just as handsome in time for Halloween, we turned to grooming expert Lloyd Hughes, creative director of award-winning men’s grooming brand men-ü, to tell us just how good Bateman’s skincare regime actually is.
Patrick Bateman:“I tie a plastic ice pack around my face […] 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 10 minutes while I check my toenails.”
Lloyd Hughes: “A deep pore cleanser is a wise start. Men have more active sebaceous glands than women, which means more oil is secreted onto the skin. This leaves men with oilier skin, great for keeping wrinkles at bay, but it also blocks the pores. Removing the layer of oil will leave a more matte finish while toning and tightening.
“As for the face mask, 10 minutes is a bit excessive. Most people are short on time first thing in the morning and while a daily skin routine is absolutely advisable, there are products that work in less time than 10 minutes.
“One of the best ways to remove excess sebum or oil from the face is to use an absorbent, filtering mask. The men-ü D-TOX Deep Clean clay mask is fast-drying (effective in just 3 minutes – as long as it takes to brush your teeth!) and deep-cleansing. Its kaolin clay and witch hazel are great for removing excess oil, dead skin cells, impurities and blockages.”
“I wash the facial massage off with a spearmint face scrub.”
“This is not entirely unusual, and similar ingredients such as tea tree oil have the same properties. They’re naturally antiseptic and great in helping to protect from spots and shaving rash.”
“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.”
“It’s interesting that exfoliation is at this stage of the process and shaving is next! I’d suggest a four-step process of exfoliating, deep cleansing, toning and conditioning. That’s because when a man shaves, the process of the razor passing over the skin is great exfoliation, removing up to two layers of dead skin cells.”
“Once out of the shower and towelled 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 moisturiser (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.”
“A hot towel to the face does indeed soften facial hair, and he is absolutely correct to use a shaving brush. As Bateman says, the brush helps to lift hair away from the skin. It also helps to generate a lather and rid the skin of dead cells, making for a better shave.
“Shaving ‘with the grain’ is also the correct way to do it, doing the opposite can cause cuts and create irritation in the skin. A man should shave after warming the skin when the pores are open.
“Following this exfoliation process, the skin then needs to be deep cleansed. Our Healthy Facial Wash includes tea tree oil and witch hazel, which combined act as an anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic and an anti-bacterial, addressing all the issues associated with post-shave skin. Most importantly these ingredients ensure pores are cleansed following exfoliation.”
“Afterwards 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.”
“Cool water is advisable after a shave, as it closes the pores and prevents blockages that cause breakouts.
“[Bateman’s also correct on the alcohol front as] alcohol in aftershave can cause Poikiloderma of Civatte, a condition which produces brown pigmentation of the skin on the sides of the neck due to strong sunlight actually burning cosmetics into the skin.”
“One should use an alcohol-free antibacterial toner with a water-moistened cotton ball to normalise the skin. Applying a moisturiser is the final step. Splash on water before applying an emollient lotion to soften the skin and seal in the moisture.”
“Alcohol-free toner cleans skin without stripping its natural moisturisers. Natural salicylic acid is the magic ingredient you need to look for: it helps to remove the layer of oil, leaving a matte finish on the skin while toning and tightening. It also adds a layer of protection and prepares the skin for the next shave.”
“Then apply an anti-aging eye balm (Baume Des Yeux) followed by a final moisturising “protective” lotion.”
“Especially now winter is coming, wind, sun and extreme weather conditions all accelerate moisture loss, which means moisture needs to be replenished on a regular basis. Choosing the right moisturiser helps to maintain the matt, talcum powder feel the skin thrives on.
“Our men-ü Matt Moisturiser is oil- and fragrance-free for less shine and allergens. It also includes vitamin E which helps tackle the free radicals that age skin by attacking collagen and reducing elasticity.”
“Clean, healthy skin comes from a daily four-step process including exfoliating, deep cleansing, toning and conditioning,” says Hughes. “This process should be done every day (in the morning and evening) and goes a long way in keeping skin, oil- and blemish-free.
“However, Bateman’s routine is a bit excessive, if only we all had the time and patience! If most men can cover off each step in the process twice a day, that should suffice in keeping skin in optimum condition.”