The best and easiest way to transform a patchy beard is to shave completely just once every few weeks. Allow the hair to come in as completely as you can before shaving.
Let the hair to grow fully again and repeat the process till you have the fullness you're looking for. You'll notice that each time you let your beard come in, it seems slightly fuller and appears a bit less patchy than before. From there, you can let it come in and simply maintain it.
This has been the conventional since time immemorial, and you can even find it in old handbooks of general knowledge like The Laws of Health in Relation to the Human Form (1870):
It’s the kind of thing that people accepted and practiced until very recently. And if you consider portraits from ages past, you might conclude that those old cats knew a thing or two.
People love to "debunk" the idea that shaving affects hair growth and thickness, but the two studies that are always cited go back to 1928 and 1970 respectively, and the methodology and the applicability of the results are highly dubious. At the very least, they don't warrant the smug responses of every internet commenter and blogger who cries "SCIENCE!" whenever someone claims to have improved his beard the old fashioned way.
The earlier study, published in 1928 by anatomist Mildred Trotter in the journal Anatomical Review, measured hair length, and was not only too small to be meaningful, but not remotely scientific: four men were instructed to shave an area on their left cheeks at given intervals, and were trusted to have done so dutifully and to have reported their findings accurately.
Talk about a small sample size and a non-controlled study.
Don't let any one tell that's the verdict of modern science.
If that isn't enough for you, the later study that's always cited was not conducted on facial hair at all, but rather on leg hair. Yelva L. Lynfield and Peter Macwilliams, dermatologists at the Brooklyn VA Hospital, published their findings in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 1970. They had five men shave one leg weekly over a period of months, then compared the hair to the "control" leg. Facial hair was not studied, nor was the sample size significantly bigger than that used by Trotter.
Reminder: this is not your face.
Again, neither study is scientific by any reasonable standard, and neither was large enough to qualify even as epidemiological. Each carries about the same weight as any anecdotal evidence, except for the fact that you can settle this for yourself: take the beard growth challenge and report your results.
We’re inclined to think tradition is on your side.
And as you work through the early stages, you’ll have no better friend than Beard Saver, the product we originally developed more than a decade ago to get through the itchy phase, and then carry your beard forward once it’s well established by keeping moisturized and under control.
Ditch the itch and give it a shot!