Why Do Athletes Wear Black Paint Under Their Eyes? (Real Reason)

While watching a game, you must have noticed that most players wear black paint under their eyes. This practice is quite common among lacrosse, football, baseball, and softball players.

The black paint is actually called eye black and players like to rock this eye black look on matches days. Many individuals mistakenly believe that eye black is similar to war paint.

However, the black under the athlete’s eyes is there to reduce glare from the sun or stadium light (during a night game).

Although the black under the eyes looks cool, players claim that there is a functional rationale for using it in games.

So, does eye black work or is it merely a piece of decoration for athletes? Continue reading to learn the full explanation of why football players wear eye black, as well as other interesting facts!

What Is the Eye Black Under the Eyes?

The eye black under an athlete’s eye is a glare-reducing strip, grease, or sticker. If you’re a fan of the NFL, MLB, or other exciting sports, you’ve probably seen your favourite players wear something under their eyes during games. What exactly is it composed of?

What is the composition of Eye Black?

Amateur and professional athletes have created eye black out of a variety of materials over the years. Shoe polish and burnt cork are two examples of eye black materials.

Most eye black grease today is comprised of beeswax, paraffin, and charcoal powder. The antiglare stickers and strips comprise a matte-finish cloth.

When did players first start wearing eye black?

Babe Ruth was the first professional baseball player to wear eye black. He began wearing eye black in the 1930s during daytime games to lessen the glare from the sun.

Andy Farkas, a Washington Redskins football player, began wearing eye black during games a few years later. As time passed, more and more players adopted the culture and started wearing eye black during games.

Why Do Football Players Cover Their Eyes With Black?

Eye black is used by football players and other athletes to improve their vision during a game. The idea is that the eye black oil will absorb strong lighting and sun glare away from their cheekbone and eye, making it easier to see the ball.

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Even during night games, several players wear eye black to prevent the stadium lights from temporarily blinding them while attempting to catch the ball.

Outfielders who need to monitor a ball during day and night games are more likely to wear eye black.

The appearance is another reason why NFL American Football players and other athletes wear eye black stickers. Antiglare stickers are popular among gamers who want to imitate the look of battle paint on their faces.

Other players want to promote biblical verses, tributes, logos, and other things with eye black. Whatever the motivations for utilizing grease, many players consider it to be an integral part of their competitive mentality.

Professional Athletes Who Use Eye Black:

Many high-profile NFL players, both past and current, wear eye black during games. Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Mark Sanchez, Rey Lewis, and Tim Tebow are among the football players who wear eye black.

Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, Bruce Harper, Dustin Pedroia, and Manny Machado are among the baseball players who wear eye black.

What Sports Do Not Allow the Use of Eye Black?

While eye black is commonly worn by football and baseball players during games, it is not permitted in several sports.

Rugby, soccer, and cricket matches are among the sports that do not allow eye black during games. In addition to such sports, swimmers do not wear eye black because it dissolves.

Which Eye Black is the Best?

There are a lot of black eyes and strips to choose from on the market. Below are some of the most well-known brands used by amateur and professional athletes.

1. Glare Gone Sports Anti-Glare Skin Care Stick

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2. Warriorblack Single Stick Eyeblack

3. EyeBlack Black Grease Seal

4. Franklin Sports Football Eye Black Stick

5. Wilson Black Make

6. Franklin Sports Eye Black

7. Elite Choice Sports Paint Eye Black

Is Eye Black Safe to Use?

It is entirely fine to use eye black and black stripes to boost contrast sensitivity. To maintain your pores as clean as possible, dermatologists recommend washing your face right after the game.

If you keep the eye black on your eyes for too long, you could get a rash or acne.

Is Eye Black Effective: Does It Actually Work?

Many tests have been conducted to determine how efficient eye black is at blocking the sun’s glare. Dr. Brian, M. DeBroff, and Pahk conducted a study in 2003 in which participants used eye black, antiglare stickers, and petroleum jelly to reduce glare.

While the results supported the use of eye black to reduce glare, the experiment was rendered inconclusive due to several inconsistencies in the data.

As a result, in 2005, another experiment was conducted at the University of New Hampshire to determine the effectiveness of eye black.

Benjamin R. Powers discovered that the result of applying eye black to reduce glare was not statistically significant. Similarly, Mythbusters conducted an experiment to determine whether eye black is effective in reducing sun glare for sports.

His findings showed that eye black does not reduce glare, but it does help people see the difference between light and dark. In a nutshell, his research proved that employing eye black in a sunny setting may help you track objects better.

Why don’t soccer players use eyes black like American football players?

The most important cause is culture. While eye black is supposed to reduce glare from sunlight and stadium lights, the effect is minimal, if it exists at all.

Though it has been demonstrated to have a slight effect in some trials, research has yet to prove conclusively that it works. As a result, the majority of the decision to wear it or not is based on personal preference.

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Eye black is very popular among baseball and basketball players in the United States, and it is widely tolerated. It’s less common in other countries and sports, so it’s less likely to be utilized.

If one well-known soccer player in Europe begins to wear it, you can expect that others will quickly follow suit, and it will become fashionable.

However, due to its occasional use and lacklustre impact outside of the United States, it has yet to acquire traction outside of the main US sports, where it is already widely recognized.

Many sports commentators believe it is better used as “war paint” or intimidation makeup than for true glare reduction.

The sun comes out for a couple of hours on a Tuesday morning in August in the United Kingdom (or at least the northern half of it) before retreating till the same time the following year.

Putting aside the snobbishness, the ball is far more frequently on the pitch in football than in American Football. Goalkeepers are sometimes bothered by the sun, but they can usually hide behind their headgear.


Athletes wear eye black or MLB stickers for a variety of reasons during a game. Some players wear them to reduce glare, while others wear them to intimidate opponents.

Surprisingly, some athletes will employ the black lines beneath their eyes for both purposes, thus it is a matter of personal preference.

Regardless of why you’re wearing black under your eyes, you’ll see a lot of athletes wearing it during football, baseball, and lacrosse games.

More Interesting Football Facts:

1. What is a Long Snapper in Football?

2. What is a Quarterback in Football?

3. What is a Wide Receiver in Football?

4. What is a Running Back in Football?

5. How Long is the NFL Halftime?

6. What are Sticky Football Gloves?