June 30, 2015 03:59 PM

When you make a list of stars who might be next to get pastel ombré hair, the obvious suspects might be the Coachella crowd or some boho Hollywood blondes. But nobody ever called Taraji P. Henson predictable.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Courtesy Taraji P. Hen

The Empire star, who has been on a red carpet hot streak, dipped her toe into the hottest hair trend of 2015, pastel dye, showing off a new purple-to-lavender-to-gray fade on Instagram. “#playingWithColor 💜💙💋” she captioned the post. (She also regrammed another angle taken by makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, below.)

RELATED PHOTOS: What inspired these stars’ pastel locks? Find out now!

Hairstylist Marcia Hamilton reveals that Henson had been asking for the makeover for some time. “Taraji was inspired by my hair color posts on Instagram, as well as the gray movement and was dying to try the look for herself,” she tells PEOPLE. “I advised that we add tones of purple and lavender to break it up and compliment her undertones as well as her personal style.” And to keep Henson’s hair healthy, the two decided on a wig that Hamilton would customize for her using Pravana dyes.

“When I did the first color I sent her a pic — I think she was out of the country,” Hamilton says. “She responded ‘More purple.’ So I went back to drawing board to recreate. Once done I gave it to her. But she had many shoots scheduled and had to wait to play with our new look. I posted both before and after colors on my Instagram!”

And the nice thing about the wig is that Henson can enjoy it while she wants and then remove it when she’s ready. “She loves this new look and I know she’s having fun!” Hamilton tells PEOPLE. ” She’s actually an undercover beautician and I just love that about her because she gets it. Knowing Taraji, she will be moving into a different look soon so I’m excited for the next challenge!”

Are you loving Henson’s new color? Share below!

— Alex Apatoff

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