Are Expo Markers Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 3, 2023

Identifying whether or not a product like Expo markers is vegan can be quite a challenge. 

The difficulty arises primarily from the manner in which manufacturers often obscure the true nature and sources of their ingredients. 

However, this article aims to uncover the truth and support you, our dear reader, in your dedicated vegan lifestyle.

Are Expo Markers Vegan?

Sadly, the answer is no. Expo markers are not vegan. This is because of one key ingredient, stearic acid. This fatty acid is often derived from animal fats, including processed beef fat, making the markers non-vegan.

Are Expo Markers Cruelty-Free?

Moreover, Expo markers are not cruelty-free. The use of animal-based stearic acid implies that animals were harmed in the production process, which contradicts the principles of a cruelty-free designation.

And some would argue that anything consisting of plastic could not be considered cruelty-free because of the environmental concerns of plastic production and waste.

What Are Expo Markers Made Of?

Expo markers consist of several primary components:

  • A porous plastic nib (marker tip)
  • An ink reservoir
  • A plastic barrel
  • Color pigments
  • Stearic acid

Porous plastic nib

The marker tip, made from porous plastic, helps to deliver the ink evenly. This plastic is synthetic and not derived from any animal source, making it vegan.

Ink reservoir

The ink reservoir holds the ink inside the marker. Like the nib, it is made from synthetic materials and is vegan.

Plastic barrel

The plastic barrel is the casing of the marker and is also made from synthetic materials, qualifying it as vegan.

Color pigments

The color pigments give the marker its distinctive hue. Unfortunately, many color pigments can contain animal-based dyes, which are not vegan. However, without explicit information from the manufacturer, it’s hard to determine the vegan status of these pigments.

Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is used in many art supplies, like markers, to ensure the consistency of the product. Unfortunately, it is often derived from animal fats, including processed beef fat, which makes it non-vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Expo Markers

If you’re disheartened by the non-vegan status of Expo markers, don’t worry! There are plenty of vegan and cruelty-free alternatives out there. Here are some options:

  • Crayola markers: Crayola markers are made without animal-based additives and, unlike some of the Expo markers, Crayola markers are washable. However, do be cautious about some Crayola products, like crayons, which are not vegan as they may contain stearic acid.
  • Veggie Baby crayons: These vegan crayons are a great alternative for those looking for art supplies that are completely free of animal products.
  • Faber Castell polychromos colored pencils: These colored pencils are vegan friendly, as they are made without any animal-based dyes or other ingredients.


While Expo markers are a popular choice for dry-erase boards, their use of animal-based stearic acid means they are not vegan or cruelty-free. It’s a reminder that, in the pursuit of a vegan lifestyle, one must remain vigilant and informed about the brand products we use. 

Fortunately, there are many vegan alternatives, like Crayola markers, Veggie Baby crayons, and Faber Castell colored pencils, allowing you to express your creativity while also protecting our planet and its inhabitants. 

Remember, every small step towards a more compassionate world makes a difference.