There are so many things that can be in your soap when you pick up a bar off the grocery store shelf. These are just some of the ingredients in four of the leading soap brands (Dove, Lever 2000, Dial and Softsoap):
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate
Sodium Palm Kernelate
Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate
PEG-6 Methyl Ether
PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate
Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)
Yellow #5, #8
Red #4, #33
Wow! What a list. Most of that stuff is used to enable their soap to sit longer on store shelves, or to create an unnecessary surplus of lather.
Ingredients in my artisan handmade soaps:
Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
Common additives that I use are:
Essential Oils like peppermint, orange, lemon, rosemary, lavender and tea tree.
Fragrance Oils* like sweet peach, magnolia blossom, lilac, rain, fresh linen, chai tea, blueberry, marshmallow and so many more!
Many of my soaps are unscented and don't contain any mica pigments either. My Farmhouse Collection coming 2/2/21 is fragrance free and colored only by natural clays or charcoal!
Additional ingredients in your soap can be wonderful like honey, cucumber or avocado powder, herb infusions, apricot seed, pumice, activated charcoal - the list goes on and on. I love creating soap with non-dairy milks like hemp, oat and rice milks. What you're getting with the big brands just can't compare to handmade, natural soap. Be aware for better skin care!
*I use a wide selection of fragrance oils and essential oils. I note whether a bar contains EO's or FO's in their descriptions. I rely on industry leading suppliers for fragrances approved in soapmaking.