Why do Athletes Wear Eye Black? Hint—It Looks Bad Ass

Eye Black on Baseball Player

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In addition to their uniform, cleats, and ball cap, many players wear eye black under their eyes as well. The reason they wear it is simple though; it helps reduce glare and combat blurry vision.

This is important because sports games are typically played in stadiums with high-intensity floodlights, and the glare from these lights can interfere with a player’s ability to track the ball.

The black strips on the eye allow a better contrast and enable better detail vision. The benefits of black under eyes increase as the speed of the game increases.

When the ball reaches the player, it will become much easier for players to track it with the glare-reducing abilities of eye black. Eye black like the iSplack Colored Eye Black is a great product for this.


While wearing black under eyes is also considered a popular fashion accessory for sports players, there are some reasons why it may be a good idea. Among them is that it can increase the visibility of a ball. It also improves contrast and helps you see better.

Moreover, it can reduce the risk of an athlete suffering from vision problems. The eye black can reduce the glare in their eyes. When used properly, black under eyes can help athletes track a ball more easily during play.

For these reasons, many players choose to wear eye-black.

History of Eye Black

One of the earliest known uses of eye black was by none other than the sultan of swat himself; Babe Ruth in the 1930s.

In the beginning, eye black was simply grease mixed with ash, which was easily accessible to baseball players and athletes.

However, modern versions use more skin-friendly alternatives such as beeswax and pigment or stabilized charcoal. Wilson Sporting Goods Glare Reducing Eye Black Stick is a great example of a modern eye black that is easy on your skin.

The use of baseball black under-eye grease has evolved with changing sports culture. What used to be simple stripes have evolved into even wilder and crazier designs.

Today, many professional baseball players use black under their eyes to enhance their contrast sensitivity. It has been a common part of the attire of many professional athletes.

Types of Eye Black

There are two basic types of eye black; roll-on and stick-on.

The roll-on version like Rawlings Eye Black Stick comes in stick form and is simply applied to the face as you would a lip balm or Halloween paint.

The stick-on version like Rawlings Eye Black Stickerscomes in strips that would then be applied to the face below the eyes and attached with some sort of adhesive.

rawlings eye black stickers

How to Apply Roll-On Eye Black

The application is easy. Apply the ball black on the outside of the cheekbone underneath each eye. Be sure to avoid any contact with your eyes.

Just like with lip balm, remove the cap and apply a single stripe under each eye. For best results, apply only a thin layer of the product.

The black will stay in place for a few hours.

Roll On Eye Black Removal

To remove it, simply wash your face with soap and water or a face cleanser like Cetaphil daily face cleanser.

How to Apply Sticker Style Eye Black

Remove the sticker from the application sheet and simply place the tape under the eye near the eye’s edge but avoid making any contact with the eye itself.

It should remain in place until at least the end of your game.

Sticker Style Eye Black Removal

Afterward, remove the adhesive by simply peeling it off the cheek. For tough to remove stickers use soap and water or use Goo Gone Bandage and Adhesive Remover.

Eye Black Superstition in Sports

Baseball black under eye is a superstitious practice for some ballplayers. Just like not touching foul lines, wearing the same undershirt, or following the same routine for every at-bat; wearing black under eyes can be a lucky charm.

But ultimately, the real reason why athletes might wear eye black is that it looks totally cool, like modern war paint.

Try Sportstar Eye Black Stickers to get that pro sports style look to help elevate your game.

Sometimes pairing eye black with sunglasses offers the ultimate in protection. To view some of our picks for the best sunglasses read our review of some of the best baseball sunglasses.


One Response

  1. Due to the paint’s ability to absorb most light frequencies, eye black can lessen glare. The player’s focus and peripheral vision may also improve. In athletics, vision is essential!

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