The propagation of an optical dispersive shock wave, generated from a jump discontinuity in light intensity, in a defocusing colloidal medium is analysed. The equations governing nonlinear light propagation in a colloidal medium consist of a nonlinear Schrödinger equation for the beam and an algebraic equation for the medium response. In the limit of low light intensity, these equations reduce to a perturbed higher order nonlinear Schrödinger equation. Solutions for the leading and trailing edges of the colloidal dispersive shock wave are found using modulation theory. This is done for both the perturbed nonlinear Schrödinger equation and the full colloid equations for arbitrary light intensity. These results are compared with numerical solutions of the colloid equations.