We conducted a targeted review of the literature exploring racial phenotypicality bias (RPB): perceivers’ sensitivity to within-race variation in facial target features in perceptions and judgment of others. This review revealed evidence that two distinct mechanisms underlying these effects, categorical and featural, tend to be conflated in the literature. The categorical route suggests that the pathway from target cues to stereotype application is mediated by category activation. The featural route suggests that the pathway from target cues to stereotype application is direct, bypassing category activation. The categorical route is more closely represented when researchers discuss RPB, and more often of empirical focus. With a focus on research exploring RPB toward African American people, we explain the two routes and evidence supporting their distinction. We next offer evidence estimating the degree to which they may be conflated in the empirical literature and discuss limitations to our approach. Next, we describe some potential implications of this conflation for theory, research, and applications concerning RPB. Finally, we end with some recommendations for future empirical research.