Some yes, some no. Proraso is definitely worth the $$$, but it seems that Target has dropped the line. If you get the cream on clearance, it's a steal at twice the price. On-line a tube runs $10 or so, even then a good value. Also, Kiss My Face is well-liked and easy on the pocketbook. As you scale the mountain, some are well-worth the money. Geo F. Trumper makes a great series of creams, as does Cyril Salter. They run $18-25 plus shipping. Taylors (pictured, and equally liked) runs $15 or so (plus shipping) for the 5-6 oz. tub, which is quite a bit. For Soaps there's Mama Bear, among others. These products are very slick, soften your beard, and cushion your face. They whip up a ton of lather and you have your choice of scents. You don't use much, so a cake of good domestic soap (like Mama Bear) at $7 (or less) might last you half a year. Of course there's the brush thing but you shouldn't be buying those but every five years or so. Can I tell the difference? You bet. Is it worth the price? Above $10, it's less a matter of economics, and more plain preference. But I haven't considered it money wasted. There is high-price garbage out there, as well. Won't name names, though. And yes, the razor and technique matter too. But, even then I wouldn't go back to Barbasol, or Edge, or Aveeno, or anything from a can, for that matter.