Show off your curves
Women tend to think men prefer thin figures—but the opposite might actually be true. According to research, men prefer a waist-to-hips ratio of 7:10, which means you're fairly curvy and have "good childbearing hips." Biologically, men might be onto something: Women with this waist-to-hip ratio have been shown to have optimal levels of estrogen, and are less prone to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You can play up your hips by walking with a "swaying gait"—researchers at Texas A&M University found that this swinging motion was seen to be extra-feminine to men. "High heels can accentuate women's feminine characteristics as well," Dr. Nicholson says, so if you really want to exaggerate your swinging walk, science says to wear heels. Read how science has found the sexiest possible dance moves.
Don't wear too much makeup
This one seems a bit counter intuitive: Aren't red lips a draw for men? Yes, but only to a degree—in fact, women think men like a lot more makeup than they actually do, according to a U.K. study. "Women tailor their cosmetics use to an inaccurate perception of others' preferences," the study authors wrote. Another study also showed that the amount of makeup women wear can impact others' impressions. "Faces with natural makeup were seen favorably but faces with more dramatic makeup were seen as less trustworthy," study author Nancy Etcoff, PhD, a research psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says. But, she also says women don't wear makeup just to please men; they wear it because it makes them feel more confident—which may be another way how to be more attractive. Here are easy beauty tips lazy girls will appreciate.
Hang out with friends
Due to the "cheerleader effect" (coined by How I Met Your Mother's Barney Stinson) people appear more attractive when they're in a group. But Barney's observation is actually based in science. Research from the University of California showed that study participants rated pictures of people in a group as more attractive than people alone. This is because we tend to "average out" faces in a group, making less attractive members more so. But why would we want an average face? "Typical or average facial features have been shown to be initially attractive and appealing to potential partners," Dr. Nicholson says. A study from Spain showed that men actually prefer women with facial "averageness"—how closely the size, color, and shapes of face resembles other faces in a population. Averageness is thought to be more attractive because it indicates a diverse gene pool, which would lead to healthy offspring. Avoid these nine dating mistakes if you're over 40.