Once, in a happily naive time not long ago, I sung the praises of a certain soap far and wide. That soap—Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap—is a deep, rich brown and something about its smokey, pine-rich musk just fundamentally soothes me. I can’t explain it exactly, but for years, it was my must-have soap, to the point of bringing it with me on weekend trips so as not to be without it.

Then, I realized that the primary ingredient in Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap is derived from palm oil; tropical-forest razing, orangutan-killing palm oil. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, ask this panda bear for more details, but, basically, the flourishing palm oil industry is very directly linked to massive deforestation, tropical habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, indigenous rights abuses in the (now many) countries in which it’s produced. Many people, myself included, think that even supposedly ethically sourced palm oil is troublesome due to both lack of oversight and demand on non-ethical, mainstream palm oil generated by the ethical streams.

So. It’s bad.

I’d long avoiding it in foods (including in vegan butter), but hadn’t ever considered it might be in other products. Like my beloved soap. So it’s been a long, sad time since I’ve experienced that pine-tar-induced euphoria.  Thanks to Katie, I’ve got a new fix, man.

Los Angeles-based, Texas-inspired lighting specialists and apothecary Jones County Road makes, among other things, a Campfire Hand and Body Bar that matches if not exceeds that euphoric shower experience I so missed. And the small-batch, hand-crafted soap is totally palm oil free. As they put it:

“The Jones County Road mission is simple: to provide an alternative to the overly manufactured merchandise of our time by bringing handcrafted and expertly designed products into the everyday home. Mixing cues from its headquarters in Los Angeles with its roots in small-town Texas, the Jones County Road aesthetic is both classic and modern as well as functional and unique. Everything at Jones County Road is carefully crafted by hand with top-quality materials.”

Which makes perfect sense in my case—JCR gave me both a wonderful alternative to a mass-produced favorite and the opportunity to support a small, local business.

You can order the company’s products via their site or find their soaps at General Quarters on La Brea, one of my favorite menswear shops in town.

More importantly, you can sign the pledge to stop buying palm oil and find out more at saynotopalmoil.com.

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