Why Football Players Wear Black Paint Under Their Eyes


Football players are often seen wearing a black substance under their eyes. Players wear eye black, a grease, or strip that is placed under the eyes. This eye black is beneficial to seeing properly, especially on bright days.

Eye black is a grease substance that’s placed under the eyes of athletes to help deflect the sun from their eyes, which allows the players to see clearly without squinting.

In this article we’re going to show you why football players wear black paint under their eyes and how you can too.

What Is The Eye Paint Football Players Wear?

Eye black comes in two forms, stick-on strips and roll on substance. There is no one better than the other, it’s all preference from the player. There are several options available to put the eye paint on your face.

Roll On Eye Black

This is the most popular form of eye black. It comes in a rollup tube, similar to chapstick, which can be applied by pressing on to the skin.

eye black roll on substance

The application is a black form of grease that is applied directly to the skin. The black grease on the skin reflects the light, which would normally be absorbed into the skin.

Eye Black Sticky Strips

Exactly as advertised, they have a sticky adhesive on the back that sticks directly on to the skin. Custom eye strips were made famous by Tim Tebow, which has Bible verses written on them. Custom wording eye black was soon outlawed by the NCAA. However, the eye black stickers, which can be found here, are still legal to wear.

eye black stick on strips

Stick on strips are good for players who don’t want to apply the grease substance straight to their face. Of course, the downfalls are the strips falling off, or not sticking because of the sweat.

It’s important to make sure the eye black stickers stay on your face while you’re playing. We recommend wearing these stick-on eye black pieces in practice first before you wear them in a game.

Poorly made eye stickers will often fall off if they’re not put on properly or if the player sweats too much on their face.

If you’re looking for eye black stickers that are reliable, we recommend checking out these stickers.

Why Do Football Players Wear Eye Paint?

Deflect The Sun

The science behind wearing the eye black, as mentioned, is to deflect the sun. Here is a great visual from eyeblack.com of how it works:

Eye black deflecting sun

Another excerpt from their website detailing the science of eyeblack:

All light, whether natural or artificial, can be reflected off of a surface to create glare.   What surprises many people is the fact that one of the strongest reflectors of light is one’s own skin, particularly the area under the eye.

With the human eye lodged underneath a cheekbone covered by reflective skin, we are naturally trained to ignore the extended cheek during normal daily vision.  However, if a direct light source hits the cheek, a distracting glare is created by the reflection of the light into the eye, causing us to squint.  Squinting reduces both one’s field of vision and clarity of sight. In a hyper-competitive sporting event, this unwanted glare can mean the difference between victory and defeat. This is why football players put black under their eyes to reduce the glare

Intimidation

Players often wear the slick eye black as a style cosmetic. Players have been known to put crosses, X’s, and even numbers below their eyes.

Football Players Eye Black

The more eye black on the face doesn’t necessarily mean better protection against the sun. Players have also been known to paint their face completely black with the eye black. It’s simply a tactic for players to try to intimidate their opponent.

Often times college or high school players will use stripe marks or will paint their faces with what seems like “war paint”. This also does not help absorb the sun, but rather as an intimidation tactic.

Conclusion

If you’re a football player that plays with bright lights or the sun that consistently shining, eye black will be your best option to absorb the sun.

Athletes that don’t use eye black will be more prone to squint when they’re trying to either catch the ball, throw the ball or get a signal from a coach.

Both the roll-on eye black and the stick on eye black will work the same as the sun will be absorbed into the skin and allow for nearly full vision during a bright day or night.

Related Q & A

Where Can I Buy Eye Black?

We recommend the makers above, Eye Black, as the product to buy. They’ve solidified their place in the market as the top eye black manufacture. Their product also lasts the entire game, without melting or running down your face. You may also find eye black at your nearest sports retailer.

What Are Eye Black Stickers For?

Eye black stickers are used to repel sunlight and ensure that there is no glare caused by the sun. They’re best used on sunny days or at night with bright lights.

Players will also wear these if they don’t want to directly paint the eye black on their faces. This could be for skin reasons or if they don’t want the eye black to run.

Players who consistently wipe their faces with towels will often smear their eye black if they decide to wipe it with a towel. The eye black, similar to make-up will run if the player starts to sweat profusely. If you’re someone who sweats frequently, the eye black may be a hindrance to your play.

Where Do You Apply The Eye Black?

Eye black should be applied 1-2 inches below the eye, and 1-2 inches outside of the nose. It’s important to not get the grease directly in your eyes, as it may cause blurriness and irritation.

How Do I Get Eye Black Stains Out Of Clothes?

Eye black is grease. Simply use soap or any time of grease remover to remove the black stain from the clothes.

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