Crime novels, in particular, have learned the art of describing personality through appearance, often giving a double whammy of describing both the POV and the described person at the same time.
Her eyes, on any other woman, would have been considered a warm brown. Somehow, set in her weathered face, surrounded by frown lines and lips pulled thin through years of disapproval, those eyes had all the warmth of a long-dead corpse left out in the sun.
Okay, that description is a fairly colorful one, but you get the point. Imagine that the POV is describing his mother ... his mentor ... his nemesis ... the Queen. It puts twists on each one of them. It describes the relationship, his assumptions, and a bit about the personality of the other character.
I like personal description. They build character. Don't fear it. Do find your own spin on it.