More about INSIDE-OUT

Since our inception on 29th May 1982, Combers hair salon, Taunton, in the heart of the County town of Somerset, has evolved to Combers Inside-Out Hairdressing. Most of our regular guests may not notice our evolving culture, and the incremental changes we make or necessarily care as long as our service and standards of hairdressing remain high. But without a strong company philosophy at the heart of what we do their ceases to be a why. Without a why, salon standards and skill levels can vary from stylist to stylist and even from guest appointment to appointment, with the guests loosing trust and the stylists loosing confidence and focus.

The Art

Attracting and keeping a team of happy Hairdressers takes more than a philosophy of course but when everyone is facing the same way and understands the why as well as the what, we can unite behind a defined purpose which at Combers Inside-Out Hair Salon and Combers Outside-In Academy is to continuously ‘Practice the art of difference making’

Many think the mind works like a camera, accurately recording what’s really going on around it, but in actuality, the mind works more like a projector, continuously creating our own reality. Therefore a five to fifteen minute face to face consultation EVERY visit is important so we can listen and feel what our guests are projecting, their reality. Sometimes the message feels confusing or confused, which is why we learn to ask key questions and test our assumptions as it is only then can we make appropriate design suggestions and agree a hair style for our guests that consistently reflects them, from the Inside-Out.

Making a Difference

We believe that a hairstyle that projects from this perspective is more authentic and sustainable. Designing a hairstyle from the Outside-In is how hairdressers normally work and in the foundation years as a Combers graduate in our Combers Outside-In Academy this is a very important stage, where the focus is on hair, learning new skills and developing creativity and getting valuable experience.

Thinking Outside-In is a must for creative hairdressing but not always the right choice for every guest. At Combers Inside-Out hairdressing salon the hairdressers that choose to work and learn with us turn their thinking upside down or as we say Inside-Out, adapting and developing their service approach and consultation skills.

For experienced stylists who are naturally empathetic this change can be very subtle but very rewarding as it changes the focus, reminding us why we do and why we enjoy what we do so much. It’s the people, it’s the smile, the positive emotion and energy that feeds into our guests from the whole team, the walls of the salon, and ultimately from the stylist with the energy at the end of the service bouncing back from our guest. That energy is a feeling you get when you know something feels right and is confirmed by the delight in our guests eyes.

For an ego centric stylist the change to Inside-Out designing can be a little more of a personal challenge, especially as their beautifully designed Outside-In hair styles definitely change the way their guest feels, and keep them on trend. But is this really what they want? The feeling from an Outside-In design perspective only, can be temporary, and not sustainably satisfying for the guest or ultimately the stylist.

It can be nagging feeling that there is something missing….

……The missing elements are vital and should be reviewed each visit as they can change. They are sometimes only little tweaks and subtle design changes, but these elemental tweaks and changes are the ones that reflect the real you, the you we don’t always know ourselves and are discovering new things about everyday if we care to listen. An Inside-Out thinking hairdresser on their game, asking the right questions, actively listening and reflecting back before getting agreement and commencing, looks for these elements.

The haircut and colour, your Haircut and Colour has to work for and with you everyday, non verbally representing and speaking for you, especially in those conscious and unconscious first impression encounters ……It is vital that you know and are comfortable with what it’s saying, because unlike your cloths, you cant take it off.

But Why….

At Combers in-side out and now at Combers Out-side in Academy we know it is important to continually educate and evolve as humans. Hairdressing is what we do; it should never define or limit us. Every one at combers is a valued individual with their own past story and a new developing one that they are creating every day. There are so many people that depend on each one of us and that we depend. So many layers to our beauty and our life that each of us are grateful for.

Love what we do

We come together for moments through out the week at Combers Inside-Out and Outside-In to practice the art of difference making and feel that warm glow of satisfaction in return, like so many others in so many different ways and professions do on planet Earth…Hairdressing is how we do it, we love what we do and believe you will too.

It is a commitment, for some a paradigm shift in thinking but if you want to work along side our beautiful team of professional hairdressers, apprentices, receptionists, administrators and support staff you have to commit to mastering the art of difference making or choose somewhere else. It’s a lifetime’s work. My late son, James, who passed aged 18 and still lives in my memory and by my side, who continues to inspire my work and inner wisdom, would I’m sure is telling me that ….”It’s many lifetimes work”

With stress, anxiety, doubts and fears, now part of everyone’s experience it is the function of a responsible company to recognise and provide support, nurture and encouragement for those committed and determined to grow and evolve.  Seeking to find ways to navigate our super-fast paced world of change is easier through sharing experiences, strengths, and different perspectives alongside compassion and understanding. Understanding that we are one and our happiest moments are when we remember this and are kind and forgiving to ourselves.

Inside-Out Consultation.

Every feeling we experience is the shadow of a thought, not a reflection of the world around us. We all live in the feeling of our thinking, which is why a consultation is important. We ask key questions and listen and observe our guest’s expressed feelings and described experiences when our they speak about their hair. Knowing that feelings and experience come from thought we seek to impart some thoughts of our own, thoughts that help change the way our guests feel and elicit confidence in our ability to fulfil their expectations. Then throughout the guest journey we offer more thoughts, tips, ideas, advice, product recommendations and explanations to help you replicate the same finish at home 365 days a year.

Everything has an expiration date and a designer haircut and colour is no exception, which is why we remind you to book your next visit before you leave to ensure your hair always say’s the right things about you, everyday.

The Inside-Out Revolution

Many years in hairdressing, speaking and helping guests with their hair has led me to agree with Michael Neill author of the book ‘The Inside Out Revolution’

” Our deepest fear may be that there is something wrong with us and we’re not enough…..That until we achieve sufficient levels of beauty, spiritual wealth and material success, or both, we won’t be worthy of love and without something tangible to show for it, we have a wasted life”

He concludes, “We could no sooner be ‘not enough’ than a tree could be the wrong colour. We don’t have to become worthy of love, because love is what we are made of.”

If you have got to the end of this page….

……You, like me are a reader. Please say hello next time you’re in our Salon.


Cutting and colouring your hair to reflect you from inside-out and bringing out your best is what we do…. Mastering the art of difference making, we can only aspire.   

Simon Willetts.

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time

TS Eliot.

We’re only ever one new thought away from a completely new experience of being alive.

Michael Neill