Lacrosse Eye Black: A Comprehensive Guide

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Lacrosse eye black is a significant aspect of the sport, often worn by players beneath their eyes. Its primary function extends beyond its intimidating aesthetic; the substance is designed to minimize glare from the sun or stadium lights, which can enhance a player’s vision and focus during the game. Historically, eye black has been a grease or wax-based material, and these days, it is available in various forms, including sticks and creams.

Your choice of eye black can be both a practical tool and a form of personal expression on the field. Many players use it to display team spirit, with designs featuring team logos or colors, while others may opt for messages and unique patterns. It’s essential, however, to understand that while you can be creative with your eye black, there are established rules governing its use. Major leagues and games have specific regulations, and it’s prudent to check the rules that apply to your league or local tournament.

The designs and rules of eye black usage are diverse and can speak volumes about a player’s style and approach to the game. Whether you opt for a simple stripe or a more elaborate design, applying eye black is an integral part of your lacrosse gear that sharpens your visual acuity and can also serve as a psychological boost, demonstrating readiness and determination on the lacrosse field.

History of Lacrosse Eye Black

Eye black has been a staple in sports for decades, and its use in lacrosse is both practical and symbolic. The tradition of wearing eye black in lacrosse can be traced back to Native American origins. Players would prepare for games by adorning themselves with various substances, which likely included natural forms of eye black for intimidation and glare reduction.

Origin of Lacrosse
Source: Wikipedia

Origins and Evolution

  • Native American Roots: The ritual of marking one’s face before lacrosse, which was considered a sacred game, may have included natural substances akin to eye black.
  • Modern Adaptation: The use of eye black evolved as lacrosse developed into a contemporary sport, with advancements in the formula for better efficiency.

Introduction in Sports

  • Baseball and Football Influences:
    • Babe Ruth: Among the early adopters in sports, noted for using grease to reduce sun glare in the 1930s.
    • Andy Farkas: Credited with popularizing eye black in American football in later years.

Application in Lacrosse

In lacrosse, eye black is applied beneath your eyes. This practice is theorized to help reduce the glare of the sun or stadium lights, improving your visibility and focus during play. While historically its use may have had more to do with ritual and psyching up for the game, today’s eye black is designed to be functional.

Regulations: Depending on the level of lacrosse play, there might be regulations governing the shape, size, and design of the eye black that you can wear during competitions, ensuring that it remains a tool rather than merely a stylistic statement.

Purpose and Benefits of Eye Black

Purpose and Benefits of Eye Black in Lacrosse

When you step onto the lacrosse field, you may notice players with dark streaks under their eyes. This is called eye black, and it’s not just for looks. The substance has practical benefits that can enhance your performance during games.

Glare Reduction: The primary function of eye black is to reduce glare from the sun and other bright lights. By applying a grease- or wax-based substance below your eyes, you decrease the reflection of light into your eyes, which helps in tracking fast-moving objects like a lacrosse ball.

UV Protection: While less discussed, eye black can offer a secondary benefit of reducing the amount of sun exposure, which might aid in protecting the sensitive skin beneath your eyes from ultraviolet rays.

  • Improved Visibility: With reduced glare, your visual acuity on the field improves. The contrast between the white lacrosse ball and your surroundings becomes clearer, giving you a competitive advantage.
  • Focus Enhancement: Minimizing distractions from glare can help maintain your concentration on the game, which can be crucial during high-stakes moments.

Remember, while eye black is beneficial, adhering to specific regulations regarding its application is essential, as rules can vary by league. It’s not just a tradition – it’s a tool to support your best play on the lacrosse field.

Regulations and Guidelines

Lacrosse eye black is subject to specific regulations that vary by league. Your comprehension of these rules ensures compliance and prevents any game-day disruptions.

League Rules

Various lacrosse organizations have set forth rules regarding eye black. To ensure clarity, here is a table summarizing the league-specific guidelines:

LeagueEye Black Regulations
USAL/NFHSPermissible, but must conform to restrictions on size and style
NCAARegulations exist; check NCAA rule book
WCLARules may differ; consult the official WCLA documents

Please note that while high school players are permitted to wear eye black, any designs, such as numbers or logos, must remain within the width of the eye socket and below the cheekbone. For detailed rules, you are advised to reference the league’s official rule books.

Application Standards

Eye black should be applied in consideration of the following standards:

  • Size and Shape: Your eye black should not extend beyond the width of your eye socket and must be confined below your cheekbone.
  • Designs: Decorative elements, if permitted, should be modest and resonate with the team’s spirit without violating the specified boundaries or league regulations.

Adhering to these application guidelines ensures uniformity and maintains the focus on the game’s competitiveness, rather than individual expression.

Types of Eye Black

Lacrosse eye black serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. You have different forms to choose from based on your preference and comfort.

Stick Form

Stick form eye black is similar to a lipstick tube, providing precision and ease of application. You simply remove the cap and twist the base to expose the eye black stick, allowing you to draw lines or shapes accurately under your eyes. This is a convenient option for athletes who prefer a less messy application and a more controlled design.


Cream-based eye black is a more traditional option. It comes in small jars or tubes from which you can apply the cream directly with your fingers. Cream types may vary in consistency and intensity but generally offer a thick and bold application. This form allows you to customize the amount and shape of the eye black to your liking.


Pre-cut eye black strips offer a no-messuniform application. They are adhesive-backed, making them simple to apply and remove. This is an ideal option for you if you desire a consistent look or have sensitive skin that might react to creams and sticks.

Remember, your choice in lacrosse eye black can reflect both your style and practical needs on the field.

Application Techniques

When applying lacrosse eye black, precision is key to ensure the substance serves its purpose effectively without causing any distractions or discomfort.

Proper Methods

For applying eye black correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Cleanse Your Skin: Begin with clean and dry skin to ensure the eye black adheres properly and stays put throughout the game.
  2. Apply in Good Lighting: Use a mirror in a well-lit area to ensure even application.
  3. Use a Mirror: Small handheld or locker room mirrors are excellent tools to help you see where you are applying the eye black.
  4. Glide or Dab Material: Depending on whether your eye black is a stick or cream-based, either glide it or use your finger to dab it on the skin.
  5. Shape it Precisely: Typically, a strip about half an inch thick just below the eye is sufficient. Be sure to maintain a consistent shape that mirrors the contours of your cheekbones.

Common Mistakes

To avoid the most common application errors, be mindful of the following:

  • Avoiding the Eye Area: Never apply the eye black too close to your eyes. It is meant for the area below, not on the eyelids or too near to where it could melt into your eyes during play.
  • Too Much Product: Over-applying can lead to smudging and reduce the effectiveness. A thinner, well-shaped layer is preferable and maintains functionality.
  • Inconsistent Shapes: Uneven application can lead to asymmetry, which can be distracting. Aim for a uniform shape on both sides of your face.
  • Skipping Step One: Not starting with a clean face can lead to the eye black not adhering correctly or wearing off early into your game.

Performance Considerations

When it comes to lacrosse, you must bear in mind that every element of your gear can impact your performance. Eye black, a grease-based or wax-based substance, is more than just an element of intimidation or identity. Its primary function is to minimize glare caused by sunlight and stadium lights. By reducing glare, eye black potentially enhances your visual acuity and reaction time on field, crucial factors in lacrosse where milliseconds can make a difference.

Benefits of Lacrosse Eye Black

Benefits of Eye Black:

  • Glare Reduction: Less interference from bright lights, allowing for better visibility.
  • Sun Exposure Decrease: Limits the impact of harmful UV rays during play.
  • Focus Improvement: Reduced glare can help maintain concentration on the game.

Application Techniques:

  • Consistency: Apply the eye black evenly below each eye.
  • Coverage: Ensure the area beneath the lower eyelid is covered, extending outwards to the mid-point of the cheek.

Be mindful of league regulations related to eye black designs and messages to avoid penalties. Double-check your local rules as guidelines can vary from one tournament to another.

Remember, while eye black can aid in reducing glare and potentially improving performance, it should not replace other protective measures like UV-blocking sunglasses when appropriate. Always consider all aspects of your gear and environment to maximize your lacrosse playing capabilities.

Cultural Significance in Lacrosse

In the realm of lacrosse, eye black transcends its practical use of reducing glare during matches. Your experience with lacrosse eye black might extend beyond mere utility to embody a form of self-expression and belonging. Historically, lacrosse is more than a sport in North America—especially within indigenous communities where it holds profound cultural, social, and spiritual importance.

  • Spiritual Significance: Lacrosse, traditionally, represented aspects of warfare, fertility, and community harmony for many Native American tribes. The application of eye black could be viewed as part of this deep, profound connection, imitating warriors and preparing players spiritually for the contest ahead.
  • Cultural Expression: As lacrosse diversifies and spreads, it mirrors a cultural mosaic. For players of indigenous and non-indigenous descent alike, eye black serves as a canvas for cultural motifs, often reflecting personal or team identities.

You may find it intriguing that putting on eye black before a game has evolved into a preparatory ritual for some players, a symbolic act that connects them to the game’s deeper heritage. Participation in NCAA lacrosse has shown significant growth among diverse cultures, and these expressive traditions continue to thrive. Designs and patterns made with eye black are not just for reducing sunlight’s glare; they foster a unique love for the game and honor its historically rich origins. The patterns you choose to wear may inform not only your connection to the sport but also signal your respect for its broader cultural heritage.

Brands and Products

In lacrosse eye black, you’ll find a selection of brands offering products designed to meet your athletic needs. Whether your aim is to reduce glare during play or to make a style statement, these brands provide an array of eye black options.

Leading Brands

SportsStar and EyeBlack are two leading brands in the lacrosse eye black market. SportsStar is known for their high-quality sticks and strips that often feature moisture-resistant properties, ensuring longevity during gameplay. EyeBlack, on the other hand, specializes in customizable eye black that allows for personal expressions, meeting both style and functional requirements.


  • Moisture-resistant
  • Durable during gameplay


  • Customizable options
  • Style and functional use

Comparison of Products

When you compare lacrosse eye black products, consider factors such as longevity, comfort, and ease of application. SportsStar’s products are often favored for their long-lasting wear, which is essential for extended periods of play. EyeBlack’s offerings, meanwhile, provide a balance between performance and personal expression, catering to those who value customization.

  • Longevity: SportsStar > EyeBlack
  • Customization: EyeBlack > SportsStar
  • Comfort: Subjective to user preference
  • Application: Stick-on (both), Paint-on (some brands)

Sustainability and Safety

When considering the use of lacrosse eye black, you should take into account both environmental sustainability and the safety of the product for skin contact.

Environmental Impact

Lacrosse eye black often contains a mixture of wax-based or grease-based substances. Your choice of eye black can have varying effects on the environment depending on the ingredients used and the packaging.

  • Biodegradability: Choose eye black that is biodegradable to minimize environmental impact after disposal.
  • Packaging: Opt for products with recyclable or minimal packaging to reduce waste.

Skin Safety

Your skin safety is paramount when selecting a lacrosse eye black product.

  • Ingredients: Look for eye black with non-toxic and hypoallergenic ingredients to lessen the risk of skin irritation.
  • Product Testing: Select products that have been dermatologically tested to ensure safety for your skin.

By selecting environment-friendly eye black and ensuring it is safe for your skin, you actively contribute to your own health and the health of the planet.

Removal and Aftercare

Proper removal of lacrosse eye black is essential to maintain skin health and prevent any irritation or skin issues. The residue left from lacrosse eye black can be stubborn. The following methods and tips will ensure you can safely and effectively clean the area as well as take care of your skin afterward.

Cleansing Methods

  • Oil-Based Remover: An oil-based makeup remover or a gentle cleansing oil can dissolve lacrosse eye black effectively. Apply a small amount of the product onto a cotton pad, gently press against the eye area to break down the grease, and swipe away carefully.
  • Micellar Water: Ideal for sensitive skin, micellar water can clean the eye area without causing irritation. Soak a cotton pad with micellar water, hold it over the eye black area for a few seconds, and then wipe it away.

Skin Care Tips

  • Gentle Washing: After using a specific remover, wash your face with a mild soap or cleanser to eliminate any residue from the lacrosse eye black and the remover product. Use lukewarm water and avoid scrubbing the area harshly.
  • Moisturizing: Lacrosse eye black can potentially dry out the skin. After cleansing, apply a hydrating moisturizer to the area to prevent dryness and keep your skin supple and healthy.

Remember to treat the area under your eyes with extra care, as the skin here is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face.

Popular Trends in Lacrosse Eye Black

Lacrosse eye black, a staple accessory for players, continues to evolve with new trends. Its primary purpose is to reduce glare, but it has become a medium for players to express themselves.

The Prodigy: This design signifies excellence and ambition on the field. By applying eye black in a way that suggests forward motion, you articulate a sense of dynamism.

The Multi-Color: Employ multiple colors to make a statement. This trend reflects your personality and team spirit, often aligning with team colors for cohesion.

The Tribal: Drawing inspiration from traditional tribal markings, this trend can encompass a variety of patterns that pay homage to cultural roots or team identity.

The Ray Lewis: Named after the football star known for his distinctive use of eye black, this style is characterized by bold, extensive designs that cover much of the area around the eyes.

The Ray Lewis Eye Black Styles

The Drip King: For a dramatic effect, the ‘drip’ design mimics paint or eye black seemingly dripping from the eyes, showing off a fierce competitive spirit.

The Adidas: A nod to the iconic brand, this eye black style imitates the Adidas logo with its signature three stripes, often seen as a symbol of athleticism and performance.

The Darth Maul: Fans of the “Star Wars” series may opt for eye black reminiscent of Darth Maul’s face patterns, showcasing a look that’s as intense as the character.

When applying lacrosse eye black, ensure your design complies with any regulations governing its use in lacrosse. Creative expression through eye black is an integral part of the lacrosse culture, allowing you to display both your style and team loyalty.

FAQs About Lacrosse Eye Black

What is lacrosse eye black? Lacrosse eye black is a grease or wax-based substance applied beneath your eyes. It’s designed to reduce glare from sunlight and stadium lights, enhancing visibility during play.

Is eye black effective in improving vision on sunny days? Yes, lacrosse eye black helps minimize the sun’s glare, potentially improving your vision during the game.

What are the rules regarding eye black in lacrosse?

  • High School & College: Check the governing body’s rulebook for specifics.
  • Local Tournaments: Rules can vary; always verify with event organizers.
  • NCAA: As of now, there are no explicit NCAA rules on the use of eye black.

Can eye black designs include team logos or messages? Designs can vary, but you should check local game regulations, as some leagues may have restrictions on what is permissible.

Does eye black have cultural significance? While primarily utilitarian, eye black can be considered a part of lacrosse culture, often reflecting team spirit and individuality when used in designs.

Are there any constraints on the amount of eye black you can apply? Guidelines on the application of eye black may differ by league. Excessive use, particularly among youth players, may be frowned upon if it affects game readiness.

Remember, each league or tournament may have its own set of rules you need to adhere to regarding eye black, so prior verification is essential.


When considering the use of eye black in lacrosse, you must adhere to specific guidelines that vary by the level of play.

  • High school lacrosse: Your eye black should conform to certain size limitations. It should not extend beyond the width of your eye socket or below your cheekbone, and it should avoid including numbers, symbols, or logos.
  • Major leagues and tournaments: Consult the relevant rulebook as stipulations about eye black designs can differ; typical mandates dictate that designs be simple and not offensive.

Always ensure that your lacrosse eye black does not contravene the decorum of the sport. This means it should:

  • Not contain inappropriate, offensive, or racist designs.
  • Be applied in a modest fashion, typically a single stroke.

Be aware:

  • Local rules: Check with your local lacrosse tournament organizers for any specific eye black regulations that may apply.
  • Purpose: Remember that the primary function of eye black is to reduce glare and assist in focusing during play, not as a means of self-expression that could distract or cause conflict.

By being cognizant of the varying eye black rules in lacrosse and applying them with care, you ensure not only compliance with the regulations but also respect for the game’s integrity and traditions.

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