Automatic facial expression recognition is an interesting and challenging task. To achieve satisfactory accuracy, deriving a robust facial representation is especially important. A novel appearance-based feature, the multiscale cell local intensity increasing patterns (MC-LIIP), to represent facial images and conduct person-independent facial expression analysis is presented. The LIIP uses a decimal number to encode the texture or intensity distribution around each pixel via pixel-to-pixel intensity comparison. To boost noise resistance, MC-LIIP carries out comparison computation on the average values of scalable cells instead of individual pixels. The facial descriptor fuses region-based histograms of MC-LIIP features from various scales, so as to encode not only textural microstructures but also the macrostructures of facial images. Finally, a support vector machine classifier is applied for expression recognition. Experimental results on the CK+ and Karolinska directed emotional faces databases show the superiority of the proposed method.