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A. Darker is better, hands down. Lightening requires more ammonia (known as developer) and a higher level of peroxide, both of which can make hair dry and brittle, says De Souza. But keep in mind: As you age, too-dark hair can look unnatural, even a bit harsh -- especially around the hairline. "For clients over 40, I always recommend lightening up at least a little," says New York City colorist Linda Lufi. "Adding a few strategically placed highlights in dark hair can take years off your face."