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Recent research efforts reveal that color may provide useful information for face recognition. For different visual tasks, the choice of a color space is generally different. How can a color space be sought for the specific face recognition problem? To address this problem, this paper represents a color image as a third-order tensor and presents the tensor discriminant color space (TDCS) model. The model can keep the underlying spatial structure of color images. With the definition of n-mode between-class scatter matrices and within-class scatter matrices, TDCS constructs an iterative procedure to obtain one color space transformation matrix and two discriminant projection matrices by maximizing the ratio of these two scatter matrices. The experiments are conducted on two color face databases, AR and Georgia Tech face databases, and the results show that both the performance and the efficiency of the proposed method are better than those of the state-of-the-art color image discriminant model, which involve one color space transformation matrix and one discriminant projection matrix, specifically in a complicated face database with various pose variations.