This paper explores the representation of the human face by features based on the curvature of the face surface. Curature captures many features necessary to accurately describe the face, such as the shape of the forehead, jawline, and cheeks, which are not easily detected from standard intensity images. Moreover, the value of curvature at a point on the surface is also viewpoint invariant. Until recently range data of high enough resolution and accuracy to perform useful curvature calculations on the scale of the human face had been unavailable. Although several researchers have worked on the problem of interpreting range data from curved (although usually highly geometrically structured) surfaces, the main approaches have centered on segmentation by signs of mean and Gaussian curvature which have not proved sufficient in themselves for the case of the human face. This paper details the calculation of principal curvature for a particular data set, the calculation of general surface descriptors based on curvature, and the calculation of face specific descriptors based both on curvature features and a priori knowledge about the structure of the face. These face specific descriptors can be incorporated into many different recognition strategies. A system that implements one such strategy, depth template comparison, giving recognition rates between 80% and 90% is described.