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You know how a sassy Twentysomething can pull off that belly-baring top or the most miniscule of minis without batting an eyelash, while a chic 40+ gal might say, No Thanks? Same goes for blonde hair; what works in college doesn’t necessarily fly (or flatter) you 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road. The good news: According to superstar colorist, Johnny Ramirez, it’s just a matter of tweaking the tone here and there to come up with a shade that’s stellar no matter how old you are. Here, his customized guide for staying golden through the years…

Blonding 20s

The Roaring 20’s: As with fashion, this is the decade where anything goes in the golden goddess arena. Since there’s no grey to contend, your best bet is to keep things close to “natural” and avoid taking strands over-the-top light. (Hit the platinum too hard and you actually risk looking older.) This is also the time to have fun with bold highlights that frame your youthful face. To keep your bombshell blonde explosively shiny: Joico’s Gold Dust Shimmer Finishing Spray.

Blonding 30s

The Bold Gold 30’s: You’re hitting your stride and confidence reigns, so keep your hair assertive by adding a splash of ash or intense gold to brighten your ‘do and cast a youthful glow on your face. Especially nice now: Lighter strands placed strategically throughout the hair, which have the added bonus of masking any stray grays. How to protect your assets? Joico’s Ironclad Thermal Protectant Spray.

Blonding 40s

The Fashionable 40’s: It’s easy to fall into the monochromatic trap by sticking to a single, allover color, but brighter highlights actually add the kind of youthful dimension and punch that Fortysomething ‘dos need. The trick? Stick to a base as close to your natural color as possible, and amp up the intensity with brighter, lighter tones. To keep your changing texture tame: Joico’s FlipTurn Volumizing Finishing Spray.

The Fabulous 50’s: You’re older and wiser…and noticing that it’s harder to cover the greys with highlights now. A smarter choice: Color hair from the root with a slightly lighter shade of gold (a demi-permanent formula works best for clients who are less than 50 percent grey); then add highlights for depth. To keep those pesky greys at bay: Joico’s Tint Shot Blonde Root Concealer.