In this letter, we present a robust single modality feature-based algorithm for 3-D face recognition. The proposed algorithm exploits Curvelet transform not only to detect salient points on the face but also to build multi-scale local surface descriptors that can capture highly distinctive rotation/displacement invariant local features around the detected keypoints. This approach is shown to provide robust and accurate recognition under varying illumination conditions and facial expressions. Using the well-known and challenging FRGC v2 dataset, we report a superior performance compared to other algorithms, with a 97.83% verification rate for probes with all facial expressions. © 2013 IEEE.