A surprising secret to looking as young and vibrant as you want to? The right hair color. With the perfect hue, you’ll feel confident, and friends, family, and even strangers will be asking: Did you do something different? If you’ve been coloring your hair and have been visiting your trusted stylist for so long, you might think you’ve got it down to science. But it’s time to rethink a few things and mix it up. There are some tricks of the trade you’ll want to keep in mind the next time you head to the salon. We asked Los Angeles-based expert colorist George Papanikolas for his best tips and tricks to get the perfect shade, whether you’re opting for red, black, brown, or blonde hair. Some of the tricks and ideas might be surprising—like it’s okay to show some roots as a blonde, because it looks equal parts natural and youthful. Or, if you have dark brown or black hair, go one shade lighter than your natural color so it looks younger and softer. And since we all know that a trip to the salon isn’t always easy on your wallet, Papanikolas also shares tips for maintaining the color afterwards, from how to shampoo to special treatments you can apply. For some shades, you don’t want to wash your hair for 48 hours, and for others you’ll want to avoid using hot water. Read this before you schedule your next appointment, make these subtle tweaks, and then bring on the compliments.