In this paper, we present a compact, low cost, real-time CMOS hardware architecture for face detection. The proposed architecture is based on a VLSI-friendly implementation of Shunting Inhibitory Convolutional Neural Networks (SICoNN). Reported experimental results show that the proposed architecture can detect faces with 93% detection accuracy at 5% false alarm rate. A VLSI Systolic architecture was considered to further optimize the design in terms of execution speed, power dissipation and area. Potential applications of the proposed face detection hardware include consumer electronics, security, monitoring and head-counting.