If you have ever watched a professional sports game, you’ve likely seen some players with black paint or sticker under their eyes. Most commonly American football, softball, and lacrosse players rock this scary eye look. Have you ever wondered, why do football players wear eye black?
Watching a game of football is like watching men preparing for the battle or war. Their mouthpieces and protective shoulders that look like armor are enough to scare the opponents.
Apart from the protective shoulders and mouthpieces, football players also put up black paint under their eyes or on their cheeks.
Most football players wear black under their eyes to look cool and intimidating. While ‘black eye’ looks cool, you may be surprised to know there’s also a functional reason behind this look for the football players.
So, why do athletes wear eye black under their eyes, and how does it work? Here’s a complete guide to give you answers.
Why Do Football Players Wear Eye Paint Under Their Eyes?
We all have seen football and lacrosse players with the black patch under their eyes during matches. Ever wondered why they do it?
Although wearing a black eye may make you look cool and badass and help your team get pumped up for the game, there’s also another reason that you may already know about.
‘Black Eye’ is known to reduce the amount of sun glare entering the eyes and allows players to better focus on the ball. It is believed that it deflects the sunlight and harsh stadium lights. They also diminish the eye’s sensitivity to the contrast that allows players to better see a fast-moving ball.
How Does Eye Black Work?
In general, when the sun hits your face, natural skin absorbs some light and reflects the rest. This reflection often leads to vision impairment. Black objects are supposed to prevent it by absorbing the maximum light.
The reason behind wearing eye black by the football players is to limit the amount of reflection towards their eyes.
Players place black patches or paint right under their eyes or on the cheeks so that they can absorb the most light. It also makes it easier for players to track the ball when it’s in the air.
In simple words, the reason for wearing eye black is that players can see the ball even when the sun is hitting their face directly.
What is Eye Black Made up of?
Football players and other athletes have made eye black out of various materials over the years. Some players use eye black strips that are easily available online and in the market made from a fabric with a matte finish.
Some other players prefer eye black grease made from paraffin, charcoal powder, and beeswax. Other materials of eye black include shoe polish and burnt cork.
How to Wear and Remove Eye Black?
Eye Black is pretty much easy to use and apply. If you are using traditional sticks including glue sticks or balm sticks, simply remove the cab, stick out some material, and apply it smoothly on your skin.
If you’re using the stickers one, there’re easier to apply. Simply, remove the adhesive and paste them beneath your eyes on your cheekbones. Properly stick them and you’re good to go.
In general, you need to apply the eye black just below your eyes, extending from the nose to the outside of each eye. However, creativity plays a huge role here. You can create shapes and designs that fit your personality and personal needs.
Eye black is resistant to water, moisture, sweat, and body oils. However, this does not mean they are hard to remove. Just peel the sticker off after a game ends and wash your water to remove the remaining glue.
Is Eye Black Safe to Use?
Yes, eye black is pretty much safe to use as per dermatologists. However, clean your face thoroughly after you remove the sticker or grease to keep your skin as clean as possible.
Keeping your eye black for too long on your skin can result in rash, acne, or a skin infection. Therefore, it is recommended to remove it as soon as your match is over.
However, if you have acne-prone skin, it is recommended to avoid applying eye black on your skin. As eye black has the capability to clog pores. So, if you have acne on your skin, it is better to keep your distance from the eye black.
Who Was the First Athlete to Use Eye Black?
It is believed that Andy Farkas was the first player who originated eye black back in 1942. He used burned cork right below his eyes to reduce the glare from the sun.
Though no one knows for sure who came up with the idea. But the trend caught on and a lot of athletes started applying it.
Some of the high-profile football players who use eye black include Cam Newton, Rey Lewis, Tom Brady, Tim Tebow, and Mark Sanchez. Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia, Bruce Harper, Mookie Betts, and Aaron Judge are some big baseball players who wear eyeblack.
Though there are some sports that don’t allow eye black during matches. The sports games that don’t allow eyeblack are cricket, soccer, and Rugby.
Does Eye Black Really Work?
There are a lot of studies that measure the effectiveness of eye black. Some studies reported that eye black does help in reducing the sun’s glare. While some other reports do not favor this.
An experiment done by Mythbusters revealed that eye black does not reduce glare but it does improve the difference between dark and light.
There are many different reasons why football players wear eye black. Some wear it to reduce the glare while others use it to intimate the opponents.
Whatever the goal is, you can find a lot of players rocking the eye black look and it does make them look stand out in the stadium.