I tried the lather directly on face thing, but I just found it to be too much work, and it uses more cream, and it takes longer.
After every pass, you need to rinse, then keep your face wet while you add more cream to your brush, then you build up the lather on your face which, I found, takes way more time. Then, I also find the lather not a thick as lather I built up in a bowl.
For me, it's bowl all the way. Also, when I'm done, I can use the bits of lather from the bowl and brush to clean the sink!
There is no such thing as strong coffee, only weak people.